Sarke - Vorunah
Indie Recordings
Black Metal
8 songs (37:29)
Release year: 2009
Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Charles
Perhaps it’s the voice that will initially draw attention to this release, supplied as it is by a black metal legend, Nocturno Culto. But as the name implies, everything else, all instruments and all songwriting, is the work of drummer-about-town Sarke, principally of Tulus and Khold fame.

Despite the former’s minimal role, though, on first few listens it is the vocals that form the focal point of your attention here. They are extremely familiar, and instantly focus your mind on comparisons with recent Darkthrone albums. In the songwriting there is also a clear streak of punkish groove, which amplifies that likeness, although the self-referential, mocking humour that characterised a record like Fuck off and Die is largely absent. Nonetheless, titles such as Frost Junkie and The Drunken Priest must have been written with Nocturno Culto in mind.

Anyway, the Darkthrone inflection is just one element at work here. It merges cleverly with the angles the main man brings from his other projects; the catchily thudding plod of Hundre ar Gammel is there for all to see, if toned down a little, making this album less immediate and more of a grower. The hooks here are subtler, but well crafted and well meshed together. The title track plays around with rhythms fast and slow, before introducing synth lines that, rather than being overbearing add a surprising touch of melancholy. It reminds me of the string sounds that turn up later on in Black Sabbath’s Snowblind, as a matter of fact. Perhaps I am simply being infected by the spirit of Sabbath week…

Whilst Sarke is clearly in its element inhabiting this grooving black template, and this beaten path is rarely strayed far from, songs generally have their own identity. This is particularly true with the excellent Cult Ritual which sees catchy mid-tempo riffs being introduced and interrupted by eerie, slowly thudding passages, accentuated by a most excellently menacing piano clunk, coming on far more Candlemass-ish doom than black. 13 Candles shifts between gothic piano twiddles and a hypnotic, worming riff effectively. The biggest contrast is saved til the very end, the two minutes of Dead Universe, finally hobbling the feet that have so far been tapping with a grimy sledgehammer of Transylvanian Hunger style blasting.

I didn’t find this anything special the first few times I listened through it, partly because its constituent parts seem so familiar. But well-conceived songwriting and good riffs mean that there is more to this, and it has become a real grower. Funnily enough, as I write this, on a beautiful spring day, my neighbours are having a street party to which I am not invited. At the very least, this has proved the perfect way to drown out their buoyant Caribbean party music, and shield my ears from the sounds of merriment outside.

Killing Songs :
13 Candles, Cult Ritual, Vorunah
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Sarke that we have reviewed:
Sarke - Bogefod reviewed by Andy and quoted 79 / 100
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