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Republic of Wolves, The - Varuna Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.75
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 9.75
Production 8.75
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 91%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.78
Musicianship 8.55
Lyrics 9.18
Production 8.28
Creativity 8.96
Lasting Value 9.23
Reviewer Tilt 9.35
Average: 89%
Inside AP.net

Republic of Wolves, The - Varuna

Reviewed by: Adam Pfleider (11/23/10)
The Republic of Wolves Varuna
Release Date: November 28, 2010
Record Label: Self-released


His Old Branches was a beast of an EP. Sure, it did lack a bit of production value. Emotionally and thematically though, it was a brace to your heart as it was ripped from the inside out to show you its own worth. It was dark, yet vaguely hopeful. Lyrically The Republic of Wolves' debut was visceral and comforting all at once. It was the internal lesson you never wanted presented, but was well reflected upon. In seven songs, a little known album took the blogs and digital word of mouth by storm due to its vigorous storytelling and (dis)comforting intake.

Now lies anticipation, and highly so, for the band's debut full-length, Varuna - one of the most devastatingly internal struggles of a record I've had the uncomfortable pleasure of listening to through and through for the past few weeks. Like the complete opposite auras of the back to back "Spill" and "Cardinals" on the band's EP, Varuna is completely bi-polar in its delivery of biblical lyrics worthy of "The Divine Comedy," and shifting timbre between hope and uncertainty. It's a fable that is lost and buried in our inner worst fears and acceptances.

When bells toll and the instruments kick in after sixteen seconds, you know you're in for one of the most powerful albums you'll hear all year. Easily comparable in execution to records by The Felix Culpa and/or The Dear Hunter, riding through this album's journey, Varuna is like being lost in Middle Earth without a map. "Woolen Blankets" immediately slows the album down after a powerful prologue, but blasts back in before the click rhythms of "Sea Smoke" and the uplifting fury of a single, "Oarsman." "Pitch and Resin" and "Monologues" make a more positive interlude before the mid-album build and release of "Tuez Le Tous, Dieu Reconnaitra Les Siens" into "Greek Fire." This is where the band absolutely shines. An earthy intro track that pounds into a darkened heavy crescendo and decrescendo of raw emotion. Not feeling consumed by the feeling of the latter song's delivery is like being soulless. That's what this band does best. It consumes every struggling feeling within your most hidden, stored away thoughts.

"The Attic," "You Missed the Point" and "Grounded, I Am Traveling Light" piggy back a sense of exorcising relief - a better morning to a war over the past few months. Then "Tanzih" and "Tashbih" act as the epilogue to the whole modern opera. "Tashbih" rides waves traveling back to the ringing bell from which the album chimed in from. The listener has essentially traveled his or her way back to the beginning of the story. The Republic of Wolves not only lock you through an entire post-modern audible tale, they cleverly tie it up in detail.

Varuna is very much a binding fable of a record. Much like Sever Your Roots earlier this year, the album is a dark journey that is a complete psychological introspective view of oneself. The music across Varuna is just as powerful, as the band instrumentally match up against the album's lyrical content, and complement both the story and its moods perfectly. The Republic of Wolves has released one of the best debut full-lengths I've heard in a few years. They have blown past a few other veteran releases this year as well, creating one of the best records that is truly built upon creative structure and passionate lyrical interventions.

Track Listing1. Varuna*
2. Woolen Blankets
3. Sea Smoke
4. Oarsman*
5. Pitch and Resin
6. Monologues*
7. Tuez Le Tous, Dieu Reconnaitra Les Siens**
8. Greek Fire**
9. The Attic
10. You Missed the Point
11. Grounded, I Am Traveling Light
12. Tanzih
13. Tashbih*

*key tracks


Recommended If You LikeThe Dear Hunter's Act II: The Meaning Of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading; Brand New's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me; The Felix Culpa's Sever Your Roots; The Receiving End of Sirens' The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 87.
12:16 AM on 11/23/10
#2
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Greg, this review is for you brotha!
12:22 AM on 11/23/10
#3
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
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I really like the comparison to The Felix Culpa in terms of feel - something about this album really reminded me of Sever Your Roots, but I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe it's the unconventionally (for this genre anyway) long songs.
12:39 AM on 11/23/10
#4
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Perhaps your best review, Adam. I can't believe this band is unsigned...this record will be the first step for them to be propelled into the stratosphere where Brand New and Manchester Orchestra are.
01:28 AM on 11/23/10
#5
aradiantsunrise
i'm not as dumb as i am
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Great review. Really can't wait to hear this.
01:30 AM on 11/23/10
#6
Keagan Ilvonen
@KeaganIlvonen
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Album is stellar. Big things are happening for these boys.
01:41 AM on 11/23/10
#7
Smeee
AP.net's Resident Staryu
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Argh, I need to hear this. Good review.
02:40 AM on 11/23/10
#8
bolgy99
Adam
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I really like the comparison to The Felix Culpa in terms of feel - something about this album really reminded me of Sever Your Roots, but I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe it's the unconventionally (for this genre anyway) long songs.
The review and this comment have me really excited for this record. Sever Your Roots is near my album of the year, but maybe this will give it a good run.
03:15 AM on 11/23/10
#9
introduction
You're not real musician!
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so excited, it hurts.
04:24 AM on 11/23/10
cwhit412
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This and The Damned Things are the last records this year I'm looking forward to.
04:46 AM on 11/23/10
Zack Zarrillo
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The album is fantastic. It's going to be an incredibly important one for many people, hands down.
05:31 AM on 11/23/10
Ryan Gardner
@RyanGardnerC
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Great review, Adam. I'd really like to hear this...
05:42 AM on 11/23/10
mycuban
hermits.bandcamp.com
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I should not have read this review cause it makes me want to hear this record even more than I already did.
06:43 AM on 11/23/10
saebois
rolling science in your back pocket
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I just got the chills. (And that was just from reading the review - can't even imagine what the album itself will do.)
07:14 AM on 11/23/10
jonwangcb
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Perhaps your best review, Adam. I can't believe this band is unsigned...this record will be the first step for them to be propelled into the stratosphere where Brand New and Manchester Orchestra are.
People keep saying this, but the band keeps saying they turned offers down because they want to remain unsigned. So I CAN believe they are unsigned.
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