Released: 2015, Nordvis
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Varg & Björn, the first release by Murg, is a concept album based on the uselessness and failure of mankind. Taking inspiration from the nature surrounding their native Bergslagen, a mining district of Sweden, the black metal duo Murg set out to capture an air of furious tradition.
‘Vindarna luktar rök’ is an eerie start to this first release. An air of quiet decomposition begins this album before a chaotic wall of noise and piercing vocals lead into the second track ‘Nejderna brinner’. This track follows a familiar song structure and is fairly typical of black metal with its atmospheric background, melodic fills and consistently tuned vocals reminiscent of early Enslaved. ‘Grannen är din fiende’ is energetic and relentless with desperate vocal lines and passages of Gorgoroth-inspired atmospheric interludes before breaking down into a bleak, desolate landscape. The sound of crying accompanies the rain into the next track ‘Massvandring & blodbad’ which is upbeat, simply melodic and catchy. There is more variation here in the amalgamation of tempo and melody that continues into the fury of ‘Den starkes rätt’ which settles into a brief melodic riff before heading back to the familiar black metal sound. ‘Farsoternas afton’ begins as a slower, softer instrumental that treats us to a short atmospheric guitar passage hinting at an oncoming onslaught with distant murmured cries. A sudden eruption brings in the vocals and this is continued throughout the title track ‘Varg & Björn’. The final track ‘Ett slut, ingen början’ concludes the album with a final display of relentless melodic desperation followed by a majestic chanting. The music slows and fades until an acoustic, mournful guitar plays into silence.
Varg & Björn is good first release. It is well executed and Murg manage to blend a mix of traditional black metal with a more modern sound and production, however this is familiar territory. This release has a clear mix of influences, there are plenty of catchy riffs and the music is interesting enough but we will have to wait and see what the future has in store for them. While we wait, Varg & Björn certainly lives up to its expectation with its deathly atmosphere and desperation, and we are pleasantly reminded of the days of old.
Review by Helen Collins