'Svart Totem'

(Tra Zero e Uno Records)

MARK: 89/100


Never underestimate true Black metal musicians. They're gonna make you happier than pigs in shit! Such is the case of Varulv, 4 blokes from Oslo (not to be mistaken with the homonymous Austrian Black metal demons) releasing this CD EP consisting of four songs for just a little more than a quarter of an hour in their own language.
From their foundation in 2007, this seems to be the only recorded account in 5 years, therefore it's likely we won't hear anything else from them, and all of this increases the rarity value of the album and the cult status of this unprolific horde; at the same time it's a pity to learn we're not gonna listen to new stuff from them, even if there's still a gleam of hope.
From my basic Norwegian language knowledge I realize they talk about old men's tales, darkness, death, nature, lycanthropy and bloody issues, while the front cover portraits a creature between a wolf and death, connecting itself to the mini-CD title "Svart Totem" (Black totem) and the monicker (werewolf).
Musically speaking, the opener, which is also the title track shows we're dealing with a sort of mid-tempo Black metal with necro vocals having occasional similarities with Hellhammer's but not Celtic Frost; on the other hand, "Skygger I Taaka" is faster and more old-style oriented, balancing emotions between breaks and sudden speed-ups.
"Avgrunnens Forgaard" is sometimes near the Darkthrone of "Under A Funeral Moon", and in other moments close to no-one in particular. Worthy of mention is the successive guitar plot, rejoicing mid-era Enslaved's fans.
The closing duty is entrusted with the instrumental "Bandring", an outro that makes me think of a boat bringing a dead man, maybe a brave warrior to his final destination. Certainly bound to be noticed is the layered guitars work, which for a while play the same tune, one acoustic and one not.
Unlike others based on the rhythmic section, this is an act steadily founded on the guitar work, and all the experience that guitar player Frank piled with his previous experiences reveals itself useful in a combo like this, be it the trilling at the right time, the blastbeat or a radical pattern change opening to revolution the mood of the composition. Add that, besides the final track, all the others have incredible drum sounds, and I mean punishing and dry, the way it fits best for tracks of this kind.
During these four tracks you won't meet any new structures or elements, still Norway's quartet is able to deliver music devoted to tradition without falling into the trap of becoming boring or predictable; it sounds easy to say but it's not and what's more not all outfits are capable of that. Expect nothing less than festering, rotten, grim, cold Necro Black metal!


Line-up on this record:
Julian - b. (also in Unspoken)
Seb - d. (also in Asaru)
Frank - g. (also in Asaru, ex-Agathodaimon, ex-Bösedeath
Haakon - g.
Kent Are - v. (also in Unspoken, Unconsacrated)

Oslo - Norway
Official site:


-Svart Totem (CD EP - 2010)