ELD VARG – One Man Army [Reinforced Edition] (2023)
ELD VARG’s debut ‘One Man Army’ is a first class storming album of brutal riff-based heavy metal with a top slice of mystical atmospherics done so well by the Scandinavian bands of the genre – although Eld Varg hails from Scotland.
The birth of Eld Varg can be traced back to 2013. Drawing inspiration from Swedish Heavy Metal giants, Eld Varg set out on a quest of riff laden metal for the ages. As a sign of respect and acknowledgment for the Swedish artists that have inspired this musical endeavour, the name Eld Varg was settled upon, which translates from Swedish as Fire Wolf.
Originally appeared 2021, now the band decided to re-record the whole thing and add bonus tracks for the rel-release of the album as “One Man Army [Reinforced Edition]“. This edition sees each song returned to the forge, tempered in the fiercest of flames, emerging stronger, heavier and perfectly formed.
“The original release of One Man Army was a triumph for the band, but having the chance to revisit and rework these songs was an opportunity we couldn’t pass.” said founder Ollie Noakes. “There has been a lot of growth in the Eld Varg camp over the past year and being able to give back the versions of these songs the fans deserve is the perfect way to put a final stamp on part 1 in the Eld Varg story. This is the version One Man Army was always meant to be.”
”One Man Army” is Ollie Noakes – a multi-instrumentalist who takes on the whole shooting match himself taking care of all songwriting, vocals and instrumentation. And what a fine job he’s done. From start to finish the riffage doesn’t let up and neither do the scorching solos or the overall power of the songs.
You know after the first few bars of opener And So It Begins this is going to be a great rocking ride. That opening track is remarkable. Cutting, slashing, rampaging riffs aplenty breaking out in to further measured mayhem after the thumping intro.
The record is relentless (in a good way) from then on throughout. To The Beyond and Vulcan’s Hammer, Fists of Steel, Wolfpack, et al battering away at your senses without letting go. Though it’s not noise for the sake of it – far from it.
Ollie’s songwriting and arranging is skilful and the songs fit together so well as those never-ending riffs and fretboard burning solos don’t let up. Well, they sort of do on Wastelands – a big rumbling bass lead in to a more of a slower almost “plodding” style for a while before that too breaks out in to another scorcher.
Then we have the epic twelve minute of Between the Moon and Stars. It’s all going on here. Speed and time changes, more cutting, slashing, battering ram riffs, screaming solos and power all round. Remarkable.
Ollie could have fallen in to the trap of making the album fill out the time for the sake of it (like some do) because you can squeeze that much music on to CD. Instead ‘One Man Army’ captures the attention straight away and holds it fully through its 12 tracks.
Eld Varg / One Man Army is an album I highly recommend and more than worthy. At least check it out if you dig heavy, groovy and melodic metal album with enough snake and celestial tales to satisfy even the most metal of metal fans.
01 – And So It Begins… (Reinforced)
02 – To The Beyond (Reinforced)
03 – Vulcan’s Hammer (Reinforced)
04 – Fists of Steel (Reinforced)
05 – Wolfpack (Reinforced)
06 – Iron Cobra (Reinforced)
07 – Wastelands (Reinforced)
08 – The Thunders of Mount Doom (Reinforced)
09 – Satan’s Minions (Reinforced)
10 – Between the Moon and Stars (Reinforced)
11 – Wanderer
12 – Wastelands (Acoustic)
Ollie Noakes: Everything