Sarke – Burn ‘Em Down

Tuesday, 9th August 2016

To be a Norwegian black metal supergroup or not to be a Norwegian black metal supergroup…that is the question with Sarke. Fronted by the indomitable Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone fame, and flanked by past and present members of Khold, Old Man’s Child, Satyrion, Spiral Architect, etc., Sarke has earned the respect and trust it deserves from the fickle black metal scene, due in large part to albums like 2011’s Oldarhian, and more recently, this year’s excellent Bogefod.

A concept album about Torolv Bogefod, he of the Eyrbyggja saga (translated as “Saga for the People of Eyri,” a legendary Icelandic story), Bogefod is taut, to-the-point, and a powerful iteration of classic black metal. Keeping this in mind, we sent over some email questions to the band’s namesake (who handles bass and was responsible for its formation), who was too kind to respond…

Dead Rhetoric: I may be guilty of calling the band this, but, is there ever a hope Sarke will lose the distinction of being an “all-star” black metal band?

Sarke: I guess people will call it that. That’s because most of the members are well known in the black metal scene. I don’t think about it. For me, they are friends I have known for a long time and we play in the same band.

Dead Rhetoric: Being that you’ve had quite a few well-known guys in the band, is it safe to say the Norwegian BM scene is still very small and connected?

Sarke: The Norwegian black metal scene is big, but when you think it doesn’t live some much people here. A lot of the Norwegian bands are famous around the world. That’s why many names in the scene are well known. The members in Sarke has been in the scene since the 80s. We have all known each other over 20 years now.

Dead Rhetoric: To that point, is there much of a sense of community? Anything like it was (or wasn’t) back in the 90s or early ’00s?

Sarke: It was more a closed group in the late 80’s. That’s because it was more underground and not so many people. And most of the people in the black metal scene played for themselves. Then it got more washed out with different styles and got more commercial.

Dead Rhetoric: As for Sarke, at this juncture, how much input does the rest of the band have when coming up new songs?

Sarke: For this album I have made mostly all the songs with riffs and structure. But the finished product we have made together at rehearsal and in the studio. Eerybody has contributed to the songs with ides, riffs and add-ons.

Dead Rhetoric: Bogefod, at least to these ears, is your most adventurous album to date, and that’s not just because of the concept. What was the goal going into the songwriting process?

Sarke: I can agree with that. We tried to made a more varied album. Sarke is a band that crosses over different styles of music. I think we proved this quite well on this album. We also knew a lot of the music on the album would be used in the movie SAGA.

Dead Rhetoric: Nocturno Culto, of course, is a fantastic vocalist. Did he do anything this time out that surprised you?

Sarke: No, he worked in the same way as on the previous albums. But, I can add he works very professional in the studio. He has a great ear for music. He is technically very good when it comes to lay the tracks and of course, he has a great and raw voice for metal.

Dead Rhetoric: You personally have been in a handful of Norwegian extreme metal bands. What’s the most rewarding aspect having been a part of so many influential outfits?

Sarke: To work with different people. Both at rehearsal, in the studio and out playing live. You learn of course, more when you do more. And to be creative with different styles of music.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you pay much attention as to what’s going on with all of these “new wave” black metal bands?

Sarke: On this question I can say no. Of course I can hear bits here and there, but I don’t follow the scene at all. I think that’s it’s common for musicians that have been around a long time and also make a lot of music themselves. They often stick to the good old bands they know for ages back.

Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2016?

Sarke: To get the CD and vinyl out. Hopefully the film SAGA will be released this year and to book some shows.

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