varg-rotkäppchenThis release has been designated as an EP but clocks in at 48 minutes and is the first release by this German band in three years. Decked out in red and black paint for their promo shots they have crafted an image that whilst not unique is certainly eye catching. The title of this EP will be familiar to those who have an affection for the band as it first appeared on another EP titled “Legacy” and had Anna Murphy (Eluveitie) on hurdy gurdy who also features again.

As a hint of what is to come on the upcoming “Das Ende Aller Lügen” full length there is an atmosphere of jollity about this where the story little red riding hood (the translation of the EP’s title) is given an alternative interpretation and has an accompanying video that is par for the course in metal generally. The opening folk melody to “Rotkäppchen 2015” is certainly catchy but having five versions of the song was a little hard to swallow as the normal version offers everything the folk metaller would desire with plenty of bounce, a catchy melody and chorus if you understand German. Two new songs are unveiled here as well starting with “Ein Tag Wie Heute Ein” which has Dom R. Crey from Equilibrium as a guest and should give you some inclination as to the style of metal Varg plays. The tune has an uplifting mood but delivers fairly acerbic vocals as the tune shifts tempo fluidly before “Abendrot” which is exclusive to this release and won’t be found on the upcoming album. The two new tunes caught my attention due to being heavier and possessing a Finntroll like approach that I have developed a liking for in the last couple of years.

As I hinted earlier my patience was severely tested after the two new songs as the second version of the title track is done in English with Christopher Bows (Alestorm) making a guest appearance. The tune is identical with only the lyrics changed which also applies to “Rødhette” which is a Norwegian version with Trollfest making an appearance. There is also a karaoke version, yes I grimaced as well, and is a purely instrumental as I can picture drunken hordes at Germany’s numerous metal festivals bellowing away with their Viking horns full to the brim. Closing the release is a beer tent version which repeats the same riff and melody for over 16 minutes and to be honest irritated me greatly as I’ll never get those 16 plus minutes back but will be tormented by the hook it uses for months to come. A fan release more than an essential purchase for those who have a penchant for folky stuff this is decent taster of what’s to come.

(7/10 Martin Harris)