Never mind the dull album art on this one my friends as this Oslo-based act is anything but dull! Formed in 2008, at which point it sounds as if the group was intended to be a mere one-man project and not necessarily a full-time band, Sarke is now on album number three with "Aruagint". It might be their third album but it's my first go-round with this Norwegian band so I wasn't sure what exactly to expect. I initially went into this 9-track album blind-folded so as to have no preconceived notions. It was only after the fact that I went back and pulled down the curtains so I could get a quick peak at the actual wizard who was pulling, or rather viciously attacking, all the strings. As it turned out the "wizard" was backed up by some serious metallic veterans as we'll soon enough see. First things first though. At the heart of this intense band is founding member/bassist Thomas Bergli (aka "Sarke"). When he first formed the band back in 2008, with the first album, "Vorunah", appearing the next year, it appears as if Thomas Bergli (Khold, Tulus, ex-Old Man’s Child) initially went out looking for a band that would combine the delightful sounds of bands like Mayhem, Slayer, Darkthrone, Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Death, Motorhead and Kreator into one compelling act. From doing a little bit of research it sure does sounds as if that mission was quite successful. But, that was then and this is now. When it came time to record "Aruagint", which was yet again laid to tape at H-10 productions studios in Oslo with producer Lars ErikWestby sitting at the helm, Sarke himself approached the new album with this in mind- "Our music is inspired by the great 70`s rock bands, 80`s speed metal bands and 90`s black metal bands. Put this together with the creative mind of the band and your get pure dark rock music sounding is clear, raw and honest". So, with that in mind, we come to a band that, in addition to all the various thrash, doom and heavy metal influences listed above, also features quite a bit of straight-up rock influences as well as (not mentioned, but definitely there all the same) a keen desire to showcase their love for old-school punk! As for the veteran musicians who help out on album number three? You've got vocalist Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone), guitarist Steinar Gundersen (Satyricon, Spiral Architect), keyboardist Anders Hunstad (El Caco, Autopulver) and drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect, ex-Borknagar). Combined these musicians, along with Bergli, set out to make a record that would follow the original game plan of this band, which was to make it always make their music "dark, epic and groovy", while also stepping out of their own comfort zone a little more with each new recording. What has it all meant then? When it comes to this 9-track album I'd say you're looking at a cool and talented group that plays 70's rock-inspired death n' roll that has been thrashed and trashed thanks to the scorched and blackened remains that result form this band having with their fazers set to kill! Sure, that's a mouth full but after-all we are talking about a band that isn't afraid to rock on down the yellow brick road while proudly dressed entirely in black except for some tattered and well-loved punk rock shirts. So yes, sometimes you do need to string together a long, but essential title when you're talking about bands like this and their must-own albums.