I’m not much of a fan of “trash vocals”. Although I enjoy many thrash bands (Kreator and Death Angel probably occupying the top of the list) the truth is that, due to the importance that I give to the lyrical aspects, I’m often turned off by the singing. While Sarke, voiced by no other than Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto, caused a similar effect in me, it only took a couple of spins to change my perception.
With two very successful albums under their belt (2009’s Vorunah and 2011’s Oldarhian) Sarke are, basically, a supergroup lead by (you guessed it) Sarke (of Khold and Tulus fame) in charge of bass, with Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone) in vocals, Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect) on drums, Steinar Gundersen (Spiral Architect, Satyricon) and Cyrus (Susperia, Dimmu Borgir) on guitars, and Anders Hunstad (El Caco, Autopulver) on keyboards. While the background of each individual band member might make it seem like the result could be cacophonous, they have managed to make a harmonic result that is, clearly, more than the sum of its parts.
Aruagint is certainly an ambitious record, combining the thrash sound that seems to go so well with Nocturno Culto’s voice, with doom and black metal elements (it is, after all, referred by some as “blackened thrash”) while maintaining a groovy, yet dark, atmosphere. The sound is piercing and aggressive, so much that a couple of times I could feel that it was affecting my mood. It really says a lot about an artist when they are able to affect you emotionally, and Sarke have proven that they can do just that.
Still, despite every positive thing that can be said about Aruagint (including an excellent production) the album didn’t offer a lot of variety between each song. Don’t get me wrong; while it is true that there is a myriad of influences painting the album, I often had a hard time telling whether I was still listening to the same song.
As a “blackened thrash” album, Aruagint is an excellent release that, I’m sure, can satisfy those who are already familiar with the band and its members; also, it gives a great opportunity to see how Motörhead would have sounded if Lemmy had been more into Satan than Nazis. Too bad about the occasional monotony.