Neithan : Due to other commitments of the musicians it has taken some time, yet after five years we have the third album by the Norwegian cancer Sarkom. Key figures in the band are guitarist (John Espen) Sagstad (also known from Pantheon I, Trollfest) and vocalist/screamer (Erik) Unsgaard (So Much For Nothing). Together with drummer Jarle "Uruz" Byberg (Urgehal) and with guest performances by Psy Coma (The Kovenant), Haan (Svarttjern), Nachtgarm (Negator), Thrawn (Dødheimsgard en Nocturnal Breed) and V. Larsen (Svarttjern’s Sgt. V.?) this was the line-up, a line up which by all means can be labeled as a doomsday elite. In our interview from 2008 Unsgaard told us that such guests brought variation into an album. The label is Dark Essence, and combined with musicians of this kind you know that such an album can’t actually go wrong.
The debut ‘Aggravation Of Mind’ was nice yet pretty much straight forward, and the threatening ‘Bestial Supremacy’ brought some more nuances into the music, even if the band managed to stay within the borders of an old school sound. Sarkom is typical Norwegian as in “black metal”, but their music is not typical Norwegian black metal since they did not use the typical Norwegian guitar melodies that prominently thus far. Well, from the start of this album I do hear those melodies a bit more, and as strange element some sound that feels like an electronic lute imitated by a kind of synthesizer (maybe something that came in from the So Much For Nothing side within the band?). ‘I Utakt Met Gud’ is heavy, fast and aggressive and will appeal to the fans of Svarttjern, just as perhaps ‘Inside A Haunted Chapel’. The new album is a bit more versatile than the previous one, some more extreme but regrettably also less threatening. And that last aspect was just the thing that made the album stand about above the general feeling within this genre. Regarding the threat-aspect closing ‘Stigma’ comes closest, followed by ‘Predators In Disguise’ as a good runner-up.
The new album has the aggression of the debut and the heavy aspect of the second album with some new developments added, and as such Sarkom has the old sound as a basis yet also brings in something new (the guitar melodies). This album is, strange as it may sound, a progressive old school sound which is not innovative yet does bring the core of it all: tunes! There is no YouTube clip, yet this link brings you to the stream of the title track. One of the better albums this year, but it doesn’t surpass the previous album by the band. That album had a catchy track like ‘I Call Your Name’ for instance, and that explains the lower score. Nevertheless, ‘Doomsday Elite’ is a strong album in its own and remains an album that meets the expectations. Nice artwork by the way.