So I’ve had this new one from heavy metal stalwarts VARGA for about a month now, and I’ve listened to it a bunch of times. But every time I tried to write about it the words just escaped me. Why that is I don’t know. What I do know is that VARGA is back with a vengeance on Return of the Metal, less than a year after dropping Enter the Metal on our heads. You want thrash riffs? You got ‘em! You want intricate time changes that will take you Gods knows where? You got those too! You want all-around great musicianship? Check! The band really makes a statement with this album, which is available now.
Things get started with “Three Section Staff”, and it’s eight minutes of thrashy madness that also incorporates some prog elements, as does second song “After Life Comes”, one of the choicest cuts on the disc. With devastating instrumental breaks between the vocals that are in danger of carrying you away somewhere, this is arguably my favorite song, especially the last two minutes. “Disfigured Gargoyle” starts out sounding like something we could have heard on any of our favorite thrash albums of the 80’s and then it’s all over the fucking place. I don’t know WHAT’S going on, but I sure as hell dig it!
It’s all systems go for “Evil Drifters” drummer Dan Fila setting the pace and bassist/vocalist Joe Varga roughing it up. Guitarists Sean Williamson and Adam Alex steadily feed the riff machine then venture off into some serious dual solo territory. What helps to make the sound so strong is the thickness of the rhythm section which is lights out, never once overplaying or showing off, as is the temptation sometimes when dealing with musicians of this caliber. As far as “Money Talks” goes, this has that early MEGADETH sound written all over it. I’m talking the Peace Sells era, my favorite time in that band’s history. But I also got a hint of one of my other old favorite bands, WRATHCHILD AMERICA (remember them??) from this one. And Varga goes from Mustaine growls to a high shriek with ease, making this the other favorite on the album.
“Far East Super Slaughter” ends the record on a very positive note with musical intricacies aplenty and some more great vocals from Varga. As I said earlier I’ve been listening to this album a lot since I got it, but it’s only now that I figured out the best way to describe what I was hearing this time out. If you’re a fan of early MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, and some more off the wall stuff like WRATHCHILD AMERICA then you’ll really, really like VARGA. I guess the best way to try to categorize the band is “prog-thrash”?? I dunno, take a listen and make up your own minds. Am I supposed to do everything for you?
STANDOUT TRACKS: “After Life Comes”, “Money Talks”, “Evil Drifters”