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Sarke: Bogefod

There's so much saturation of bands going on in the world, it seems the months and years sneak by and we don't sit back sometimes and appreciate what a renaissance period this is for extreme music. Nocturno Culto is a name that resonates in black metal circles with the infamous Darkthrone, but the man donates his time and his tortured vocals for another outfit. Called Sarke, the band of Tulus/Khold drummer Thomas "Sarke" Bergli, this year 2016 sees them releasing Bogefod, already their fourth studio album to see the light of day. Stateside, they are still a name on the fringes, but this unique Norwegian troupe is another in a long line of high quality musical outfits emanating from the land of fjords and Odinism.

For those unfamiliar, Sarke sits somewhere in the midst of the black-n-roll perpetuated by the likes of Khold and Vreid, but with a doomy core lurking underneath the miserably mean riffage. Bogefod is chock full of mid-paced rock-n-roll riffing, with Nocturno Culto's tormented rasp giving it a graveyard grimness that is reminiscent of the way their Finnish neighbors in Hooded Menace craft songs. The comparison is a bit fleeting though, as a song like "Alternation" exhibits the slower strains of doom/death amid the blasting black metal parts. Its all about the riff, though, as between the faster parts and Culto's vocals lurks some fantastically chunky notes provided by Steinar Gundersson and Thomas Bergli on their respective axes.

"The Wickeds Transient Sleep" is a downright stormer of a track, with some very slow, cymbal-touched hanging riff interludes similar to My Dying Bride. But the riffs rev up right after in a most satisfying way. Heavy metal is alive and well folks, and these Norwegians know how to make it work. Keys exist on the outskirts of the racket, courtesy of Anders Hunstad, adding the right touch of atmosphere to a mix that never ever forgets that guitars rule the day.

At 34 minutes in length, Bogefod does not overstay its welcome. Each song gets to its point with no mucking about. One surprise is the magnificent "Dawning," featuring the operatic vocals of Norwegian folk singer Beate Amundsen, whose all too brief performance will make you want to seek her out to see what other albums she's graced (her voice is that good). After this acoustic reprieve, "Evil Heir" gets right back to the death metal riffing, with that old school flavor to the lead.

Sarke's first two albums had more groove going on, which depending on tastes may be more appealing than the tendency to draw out and doom-ify the sound on Bogefod. This style began on the third album Aruagint, and continues to morph this drudging pace between the faster parts. Nocturno Culto's vocals seem better suited for the groovy, faster parts. But if slow and heavy is your thing, you'll like the direction Sarke is going.

Track Listing
1. Taken 03:17
2. Blood of Men 03:15
3. Barrow of Torolv 05:06
4. Alternation 03:18
5. The Wicked's Transient Sleep 03:40
6. Burn 04:03
7. Dawning 03:30
8. Evil Heir 04:22
9. Sunken 03:52

Added: May 25th 2016
Reviewer: Nicholas Franco
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1663
Language: english

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