CD review SARKE ‘Gastwerso’

(8/10) Thomas ‘Sarke’ Bergli decided back in 2008 to make a first solo album. The debut ‘Vorunah’ was crawling out of the Norwegian forests in 2009 with four longplayers following the path of the debut. Two years after ‘Viige Urh’ pushed some clouds in front of the sun the next strike is in the starting blocks. ‘Gastwerso’ is the name of Sarke’s sixth longplayer, featuring eight new songs.

One thing right away, the album is with 34 minutes not too long, a fact that can be partly balanced by great quality that comes with each of the tracks. Sarke is rooted in Norwegian Black Metal but has a much wider range of influences being recognisable right away.

‘Ghost War’ leads off the album, a dramatic and dark masterpiece with clear crossreverences to Celtic Frost. The way Nocturno Culto’s phrasing vocals reminds more than once of Tom Warrior and his Swiss Metal legion. In contrary the solo part’s quite melodic and it’s the subtle use of keyboards adding density as well as drama to the song.

The songs on ‘Gastwerso’ stick very much to a moderate pace. The massive ‘Mausoleum’ is one of these mid-tempo anthem, building cinematic soundscapes, enriched by well-embedded keyboard sounds. ‘The Endless Wait’ continues the journey. Calmer tones and narrative vocals reflect a new aspect on this album, amplified by the female vocals by Lena Fløitmoen. Her clean voice and Nocturnus Culto’s coarse vocals interact perfectly, an arc of suspense that’s clearly adds to a positive impression.

‘In the Flames’ mirrors in part the vibe of ‘The Endless Wait’ before the grooving and bombastic ‘Rebellions Bas…’ puts a foot on the break. Louder and calmer parts interact perfectly and changes of pace are well-placed. The song has a dark and hypnotic expression, fitting right into the dark autumn and winter season.

‘Gastwerso’ is an album that carries a lot of feel. Sarke’s new longplayer is an emotional journey through darkness. As with the artwork there’s always some grey shades of melancholy weaved into each of the songs. This album is a strong one, showcasing a band that manages to fuse many musical influences to create something different and strong.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Ghost War
  2. Echoes From The Ancient Crucifix
  3. Mausoleum
  4. The Endless Wait
  5. Ties of Blood
  6. In the Flames
  7. Rebellious Bastard
  8. Cribs Hand

Label: Indie Recording

Genre: Blackened Metal

Release Date EU: November 1st, 2019

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