Title: The Great Tribulation
Release date: 19 April 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
Growing up in the Canadian wilderness, there were only a few solid sources of local underground metal for sustenance. Outside of Toronto, one of the most consistent beacons of metal comes out of the Niagara Falls region. VARIUS are one of the bands currently leading this charge, with their new release “The Great Tribulation” following up a demo in 2017. The new EP is 17 minutes of hard hitting metal split into four tracks of heavy and complex melody driven riffs, crushing bass and drum work, and a well suited deep growling vocal. One of the reasons why VARIUS catches my ear is because they do an excellent job delivering straight to the point metal that seamlessly incorporates extra layers with keyboards and structure changes mid-song to add depth. Feeling like some sort of hybrid between Scandinavian and Canadian melodic death metal, VARIUS are a band sure to attract fans across many metal genres and especially fans of bands like Hypocrisy and Kataklysm.
I’ve always been a very visual music listener and while there is no clear narrative arc between releases, I enjoy how the band tied things together with album art. “The Great Tribulation” is the next chapter to the story VARIUS are weaving in my mind. With their first demo focused on the imagery of a messenger and perils of the modern world, their latest release continues the journey of the Red Messenger as the metal trials intensify.
The EP opens with ‘Til The End’ which starts things off with a furious riffnado and a mix of driving bass and killer guitar melodies. Heavy technical drumming accompanies the shredding throughout the adrenaline rush, fusing thick atmospheres and a deadly chug similar to bands like Mors Principium Est and Ex Deo. “The Great Tribulation” has a few interesting twists and turns, with the second song ‘Eyes Close (Mind Open)’ incorporating some very technical guitar sections and solos to contrast the evolving rhythms. This mix of styles provides a very satisfying listen; easy to digest but still avoiding the mundane.
‘Ecto-Perspecto’ is another great example of VARIUS’s tendency to embrace serendipity. They open with a tremendously groovy riff before transitioning into several different main progressions full of unique accents and fills. Showcasing such a diversity of influences in their metal, it’s songs like this one that make me excited to see what their future directions may hold. The EP closes strong with ‘Unity by Warfare’, which features another heavy as hell dose of melodic shredding and thick bass work and percussion. This is my favourite song off the EP, featuring some extremely tasty riffs and wicked synthetic keyboard undertones to go with the powerful growls. Similar to the rest of the songs they’ve put out, the track evolves over time with tempo changes and a volley of blistering solos before tapering out.
Varius; “diverse, different, changeable; variegated”. Embracing change is something key for any band looking to survive the modern music landscape. VARIUS stay true to their namesake, and hit hard with a blend of traditional groove and progressive heavy metal with no shortage of awesome riffs, captivating solo work, immersive atmospheres, and compelling song structure. VARIUS deliver wicked metal on every track throughout “The Great Tribulation”.
Each of their songs are full of diversity, embracing many progressive elements to compliment the straight forward raw power they consistently deliver on. Although I am sure one of the criticisms of this EP will be its straightforward nature, it’s all the intricate layers and details that give them an edge when you look deeper. Not to mention the instrumental and vocals throughout this EP are fantastic, with excellent production value helping to pull everything together. I’m excited to see what VARIUS get up to moving forward, having recently catching them live for “The Great Tribulation” release show and seeing the dialed metal first hand. Discover some new metal and check out this latest offering of raw power to get your daily dose of adrenaline! 8/10 Metal Yeti
8/10 – To Greatness and Glory!
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.**