Released By: Napalm Records
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Genre: Viking Metal / Wolf Metal
Philipp “Freki” Seiler – Vocals/Guitar
Silvester “Fenrier” Grundmann – Drums
Timo “Managarm” Schwämmlein – Vocals/Lead Guitar
Patrick “Hati” Zarske – Guitar
Thomas “Skoll” Winkelmann – Bass
01. Der Gro·e Diktator (The Great Dictator)
02. Das Ende Aller LA?gen (The End Of All Lies)
03. Revolution (Revolution)
04. Streyfzug (Streyfzug)
05. Achtung (Achtung)
06. Dunkelheit (Darkness)
07. Totentanz (The Dance of Death)
08. Einherjer (Einherjer)
09. Wintersturm (Winterstorm)
10. Ascheregen (Rain of Ash)
After releasing four full-length albums during the span of their ten plus year career, it has only been the aftermath of signing with Napalm Records back in July 2015 where something inside the group has changed. These German Metallers began as a Pagan Metal act, where they mainly played at Pagan Festivals and most likely moved into an unfortunate direction to the forgotten and unoriginal abyss.
Despite what anyone has listened to previously along with the alleged controversies, the fifth album, Das Ende Aller Lu?gen / The End of All Lies are both a must listen. I was surprised to see that vocals were recorded in both the German and English language. My instant reaction to this was to listen to only the English version. However, something inside me said to give both a spin. I do enjoy that I can now understand the lyrics and meaning behind each track thankfully from the English version but, musically and stylistic wise, I prefer the natural German take.
The Melodic and Production quality has tightened since 2012’s Guten Tag and each track speaks for itself where nothing appears dull or a waste of space filler. Bringing in such versatility, they have charged in like a pack of Metal wolves with a controversial fortified sound while remaining truthful, along with a thought-provoking concept.
Admittedly, there were times I thought I was listening to a Killswitch Engage album, and then became more intrigued after hearing elements of Ensiferum and Cradle of Filth. The styles did not stop there as hints of Black Metal, Viking Metal, Metalcore, Pagan Metal, to a bit of Power Metal were shown that many will end up having a debate to decipher which sub-genre of Metal Varg belongs to after this release. Perhaps we should all simplify it as their entitled, Wolf Metal sub-genre and call it a day.
Moving into a new direction, focusing on the Political leaders throughout the world posing as false prophets, who have manipulated many followers over the years. As shown in the artwork, Varg appears as our personal united group to give us hope and to be the ultimate resistance of this blasphemous leadership that many have been lied to worldwide throughout the years. The initial video from the titled track alone gives A Clockwork Orange vibe, however, showcasing the wrongdoings such “leaders” and in this case, the “liars” have done from different parts of the globe.
The opening track is from one of my personal favorites, Charlie Chaplin’s infamous speech from “The Great Dictator,” which had me hooked along with its eerie interlude. As it aggressively moves into the titled track, where it made me wish that someone would end all of the corrupted lies people are faced with on a daily basis. Style wise, it felt to me being a mix between Metalcore, Thrash, and Viking Metal, but regardless of the genre technicality, I was mesmerized from the get-go. Keeping up with an army gear of Metal tenacity, “Revolution” cuts in and despite the repetitiveness, the song remained crisp and kept me enthused.
During “Streyfzug” there was a moment when I thought I heard a classic track from Ensiferum’s Iron, however, the progressive escalation with the vengeance gruelling vocals brought me to the reality that this is one brutal Varg album. The lyrics started to sit with me from this point on including, “Those who bear desire in their hearts. Will walk the darkest path to find the light.” I believe that this is relevant to many where we can all relate to.
After the serious note was said and done, “Achtung” came in and I began headbanging and saying to myself, “they better come to North America to play this song live.” Such an enjoyable and fun track, even the lyrics will have anyone raise their fists in the air, gathering around like a pack of Metal wolves and screaming out “Achtung!” Moving into a Gothic-Black Metal direction midway through with “Dunkelheit”/”Darkness” reminded me of a Dusk and Her Embrace Cradle of Filth era. The brutality morphed into a merciless and morbid track with a melodic consistency along with haunting lyrics such as “Solitude is my friend in the depths. Imprisoned in darkness.” Halfway through the track, I can see myself with a neck injury from headbanging a bit too much.
Slowing down immensely in “Totentanz”/”The Dance of Death,” would shock any long time listeners of Varg. It chimes in like a haunted ballerina jewelry box abandoned in a lost attic. There are female vocals as well where I’m almost certain that these vocals are from Eluveitie’s Anna Murphy, but I can be mistaken. Regardless, this wouldn’t be her first time as a guest vocalist for Varg. The lyrics remind me of something from The Phantom of the Opera essence, especially when dramatically expressed, “Dance with me until we die.”
The album picks up once again in more of a Pagan/Viking Metal tone with tracks “Einherjer” and “Wintersturm”/”WInterstorm.” Finally, the anthem-esque conclusion with the closing track “Ascheregen”/”Rain of Ash” kicks in. This is perhaps the most depressing tune of the entire album that leads to the lyrics. The writing alone can hit many close to home, especially those who have lost a loved one with an expression such as “The day was black as night. When fate let your body hit the ground. Memory is pain. Yet pain is only a feeling.“
Das Ende Aller Lu?gen / The End of All Lies is timed well where songs do not appear too long or short. This made it instantly enjoyable from start to finish for me. The diversified songs mixed with different elements along with the final tune made me want to listen to it over and over again. Despite the short length, you want to go back to it to hear something you missed. For me, I usually need to have a few listens to an album to decide whether I like it or not, and this one had me from the first round. I ended up having this album on repeat for both the English and German versions, and I didn’t even realize five hours have gone by, it’s that good.
Written by: Zenae Zukowski
Rating: Zenae 9/10