The Norwegian black metal outfit Sarke has grown into a musical force to be reckoned with and spawned a sound and an identity that they can rightfully claim as their own. While the first couple of releases were a bit so-so, the previous album, Bogefod, was incredibly well-written and cleverly arranged, which is to say that it was anything but stereotypical or clichéed. This brand new album of theirs bearing the obscure title Viige Urh is no different. There is just something about Sarke that sets them apart from the majority of other black metal hordes out there. Obviously, having Nocturno Culto grace the album with his ugly and inimitable vocals that reek of death and decay is a stroke of genius. No other vocalist out there sounds quite like him. The thing is that Sarke consists of highly talented and skilled musicians that have all been around the block a few times, which is something that Viige Urh benefits from. You can simply sense and feel that these guys know exactly what they are doing. There is a reason this record sounds so convincing and meaningful. There are no loose ends or superfluous parts to be found on this fucker; everything fits together perfectly and the songs all possess a wonderful flow.
The eight sinister compositions that constitute Viige Urh all have depth, substance, and texture to them. Ranging from aggressive and vicius to morose and introspective, they cover quite a lot of ground in terms of atmosphere and feeling. There is an emphasis on groove and heaviness as opposed to speed, which underlines the moody aspects of the album nicely. There is no shortage of razor-sharp melodies, rumbling riffs, thick bass lines, bone-crushing drums, or disgusting vocals on this fantastic output, that is for damn sure. One can keep listening to the songs over and over again only to discover more wicked nuances and subtle details each and every time. While the album is firmly rooted in black metal, it is somewhat experimental in places and contains elements and traits that bring to mind other genres of music such as thrash metal and avantgarde music. Not that that is anything new or innovative as such, but Sarke have their own unique way of fusing different elements such as female vocals, ugly riffs, and depraved piano parts together and conjuring up a bleak and menacing soundscape that is both original and enticingly dangerous, just the way it ought to be when it comes to fiery, wild, and imaginative black metal. The bombastic and organic production suits the song material perfectly and the musicianship is insanely tight, so no complaints there either.
Viige Urh is the perfect soundtrack for a cold and dreary autumn and most definitely one of the best black metal releases that you will have the (mis)fortune of coming across nowadays. Pitch black darkness is upon us!