Latvian Folk Metal quartet Varang Nord released their second full-length album less than a week ago. And I must admit that, despite not having even heard about them prior to spinning this record, I quickly became impressed by the sheer amount of effort the band seemed to have poured into Fire of the North. From the artwork alone (a viking-like figure holding a sword and a torch) it quickly becomes clear that this is a full-fledged Folk Metal band. And performing in their native language, even (which works surprisingly well within their chosen genre). And as a little gesture of kindness, they even translated the lyrics to English inside the booklet. Overall, a quite dedicated, and talented band. Musically, the band has focused on simple, catchy and repeated riffs, which creates an overall easy-listenable sound, one that goes well with the deep growls delivered by the lead singer. Sadly, they somehow fail to add anything unique to the mix, which causes Fire of the North to be one of those albums that are perfect to play in the background: The music is great, but not over-the-top fantastic, which means that it does not end up distracting you from whatever it is you are doing. However, that also means that it is not something you will be very hooked on, not in my case at least. That being said, I do get the feeling that Varang Nord will truly reach their peak as a live band.