By Marlee Keeven
The Varmints are one of those bands that make classification difficult. This Windsor-based band’s newest release, Night Bloom, is rock first and foremost, but also encompasses elements of metal, grunge, psychedelic and even jam rock.
Zach Mercer, guitarist and lead vocalist, has quite the talented voice – similar to John Bell of Widespread Panic when hitting the higher notes, and similar to Layne Staley of Alice in Chains when hitting the lower ones. To have a voice similar to two famously distinct voices in rock history says a lot for Zach.
Even though Night Bloom only contains five songs, each one boasts length and energy. “Loose Your Lust” begins with a two-minute long classic metal instrumental intro. It is fast-paced and it rings true to early rock ‘n’ roll and metal music, such as Black Sabbath. Then Zach’s voice collides into the song, catching you off guard but leaving you wanting more.
Each song contains great instrumentals. “Winter Woes,” a ten-minute song, features epic instrumental/vocal switches, as any song this long should. Just when the vocals become a little too slow, the instruments kick in a little louder and go on to steal the spotlight for a couple minutes.
Zach’s voice and the modern sound quality are the only two things that make The Varmints seem modern; otherwise their roots remain among their predecessors. These guys truly have some talent to offer to the music industry, so check them out if your heart strings tend toward the raw rock ‘n’ roll of yore.