It’s been a few years since we last heard from doomsday elitists Sarkom and another battering slice of true Norwegian black metal is highly anticipated from the line-up containing past and present members of So Much For Nothing, Magister Templi, Svarthaueg and Dodheimsgard. Their last album had a few tricks up its sleeve and was far from formulaic and the good news here is that although Anti-Cosmic Art is a bit on the brief side it is far from formulaic. What we get here is just six new tracks from the band along with a finishing cover version of Sodom classic ‘Sodomy And Lust’ which really allows Erik Unsgaard to put in some most amusing gargles and rasps.
Starting off though we have the wonderfully entitled “Previous Associates, Now as Targets for the Gun” and let’s face it I’m sure we all have a few of them. An unholy clamour, this is full bodied and downright nasty, if the title is a message to anyone in particular they should be afraid as it shakes and quakes, with trembling sinister guitar lines and a hefty guttural vocal presence. This is one that storms away musically but underlying it all are some ominous backing chants that make the speedy flurries all the more decrepit and horrifying. All that’s missing is a gunshot as this one terminates, maybe a missed opportunity or a cliché too far; that aside you should certainly get the message. ‘Mind-Abscess’ sets about sucking out your brain with a much more bouncy melody as the band get their groove on and go for a bit more of a black n’ roll approach. The venomous vocals are particularly thorny as is the guitar work but there is a huge ballast from the bottom end and the production here is great making it all far from an exercise in tinny black metal. There’s some flamboyant soloing here and no doubt it is provided by one of the 2 guest musicians on the album who are Shining’s Peter Huss and TNT guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø (if I were a betting man I would go with the latter). ‘Ruiners Of Our Family Tree’ sits as the black sheep and again changes direction with some grating bass work and a leaden heft about it that almost could be a stoner groove if it were not for the blackened savage vocal clamour. Only problem with this one is it finishes far too quickly, just as I’m really getting into it.
Bells toll ominously and we are flung down the abyss that is “Seen Through the Eyes of a Paedophile Priest” and it’s as ghastly as the title suggests. This one is pure tentacle horror with some strange xylophone chimes coming out the barraging void and sinister spoken words. If ever there was a song that makes you want to take a shower after hearing to cleanse yourself, this is it UGH! Things hardly cheer up with a title like ‘Come, Dear Cancer’ and this track goes for a simple short battering but is suddenly injected with chugging guitar and the unmistakable clamour of Alfahanne’s Pehr Skjoldhammer giving the album yet another dimension. ‘Black Metal Necrophilia’ heads things off before the delirious cover and does as suggested dancing with the dead and delivering some rancid old school svart Norse goodness.
Apparently this was meant to celebrate the bands 10th anniversary but was delayed ‘due to personal and technical problems.’ I’m glad they got around them but it did kind of leave me feeling caught just a little short and I would really have welcomed a couple more songs here. That aside there’s no shortage of ideas here and what we get rages perfectly. Excellent cover art too!
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)