Sarke

Vorunah

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AllMusic Review by

This started out as a solo project for Thomas "Sarke" Berglie of the well-regarded Norwegian black metal band Khold, but it became much more -- at least as far as the metal underground was concerned -- when Darkthrone vocalist Nocturno Culto came on board. This was a coup equal to Deicide frontman Glen Benton agreeing to provide vocals for previously undistinguished New York death metal outfit Vital Remains, resulting in the release of their two best albums, Dechristianize and Icons of Evil. Similarly, it's doubtful Vorunah would be anywhere near as good as it is had Culto not agreed to donate his guttural howling to the project. The riffs, while decent, are quite clearly the product of someone for whom guitar (not to mention bass) is not a full-time gig (Sarke was the drummer in Khold), and the playing is rudimentary, aided by the "punch it in till you get it right" practice of modern-day home studio recording. The songs are primitive, very much reminiscent of Hellhammer, early Celtic Frost, and equally early Darkthrone, thrashing sometimes and trudging forward like soldiers in the snow at other times. String samples and moody keyboards occasionally provide a little bit of additional darkness to their otherwise punky roar. And obviously Nocturno Culto's vocals owe a lot to Tom Gabriel Fischer. Several songs -- "Frost Junkie," "Cult Ritual," and "13 Candles" -- pass the six-minute mark, which is a mistake. And some of the lyrics, particularly on the song "Old," are just dumb. But this is a decent side project to tide Darkthrone fans over until that band's next release, which is more than could have been said had NC not taken part.

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