Genre: Black / Thrash Metal
Country: Norway
Label: Indie Recordings
Year: 2017

“Viige Urh” is the fifth full length album by the Norwegian Sarke, most recognizable as being fronted by the legend Nocturno Culto, as well as Tulus / Khold drummer Thomas Berglie (also known as “Sarke” as this band name). Since their first album, these guys have had a decent run of legit only albums, even including a slightly weaker effort in 2013 with “Aruagint”. Sarke’s music falls under the black / thrash category but it doesn’t actually have much in common with plain bands of the genre, it’s very distinguishable because of Culto’s governing voice and a bunch of filthy guitar riffs, a recipe they follow for every record.

What we’re dealing with now is not different and is structurally the same as the previous of 2016 (thirty-four minutes long, eight tracks). The sound of “ViigeUrh” is at the expected legit level but it’s the compositions themselves that get the album across. Once again, we are treated with a variety of beautiful guitar lines, full of direct, modest but awesome riffs and well-written solos. The band also includes some more groovier or doomier parts, as well as plenty of background synths to go along and build the vibe of the record.

The first, self-titled track starts in their own, familiar fashion and introduces the great synths the album has. Everything that happens in the track is really good, from the vocals to the catchy guitars and the beautiful solo. It is among the speedy tracks here, they play like that in other parts like the introduction of “Age of Sail” or the shortest track, “Knifehall”. The latter has a title giving hints about the album’s cover, and its intromelody is a bit like Shining’s “Vilseledda Barnasjälars Hemvist”, but only for a little bit. Both tracks are fused with slower lines that depict the attractive style of Sarke.

The eerie keys opening of “Dagger Entombed”, which was one of the pre-released singles, got me hooked with the album and the most unusual tempo in “ViigeUrh” is kept at “Upir”. Sick, kickass riffs everywhere. The most unique track of the record should be “Jutul”, which contains a tranquil intro but soon evolves into a painful doom metal part. Here are featured maybe the best female vocals you’ll hear this year. Lena Fløitmoen accompanies Culto in the chorus but also sings by herself, showcasing a magnificent, totally powerful voice that pushes this track to stand out.

What is great in “Viige Urh” is also the natural change between tracks, they are wonderfully placed in an order that gives the record a smooth stream, which helps a lot in forming a positive view of it. The band’s skill to construct a solid track is just expanded to the whole record and that is a subtle, but important indicator of quality bands out there.The entirety of this record is fine and doesn’t have any weak spots, except for maybe the sixth number “Punishment to Confession”, the only one I liked a bit less than the rest because of the narrating and the lack of action, despite having sweet melodies in the middle.

Sarke are great musicians and they don’t aim for extremely complex albums. Instead, they actually thrive in the compositional part and that’s why their material is that good. “Viige Urh” is one of their albums that I will come back to a few more times, something that wasn’t bound to happen with previous releases. It feels like they’re completely loose and free creatively with this project, what I heard is highly recommended.