Saarkoth, born in 2016 within the ancient forests of Staffordshire, have completed their second full-length album titled ‘Cult of Nature’, which expands on the sounds and themes explored in their well-received 2018 debut ‘Jera’ and 2020 EP ‘Follow the Cult’.
Once again Saarkoth explores subjects such as the relationship between Humanity and Nature, the rapid decaying of the Earth and the Human Mind. Cult of Nature is out on November 14th 2020.
Guess who is back? Only one of our favourite atmospheric black metal bands in the UK right now! We’re big fans of Saarkoth and you can read our reviews of their 2017 demo, the album Jera and the EP, Follow the Cult to see that.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re going to love everything the band put out. After all, everyone releases a stinker, eventually right? Well, the bloody good news is that is certainly not the case with Cult of Nature. The sound of a band growing and expanding as experience is gained. Jera was an accomplished effort and it was always going to be a tough task for the black metallers to follow that up. Yet, Saarkoth have met the expectations of fans and in some cases, on certain tracks, gone above and beyond.
The end result is an album that is at its core, black metal (the vocals, the pounding drum beat, the violent riffing) but layered with entrancing, beautiful, haunting, emotional and lavish melodies and effects.
It’s hard to pick out just one or two particular tracks to point at and say, listen to these. Each part of Cult of Nature feels like necessary listening. Be it the horrendous doom-like heaviness that greets us on Rains over A Dying World, the guitar thriller that is Praying to Man (check out that freaking solo by Ryan Wills of Deadwood Lake) or the gloomy and melodic drop in the latter part of Sanctuaries of Oak.
It is a triumphant album. However, if you were to put a gun to my head and insist that I pick one individual track that stands out the most, then Burn the Forest gets the nod. Just. Other than being an absolute beast in regards to black metal ferocity, it delivers a layer of thoughtfulness and sadness in its chorus that just hits the soul. It’s a stunner.
Although May Winter Bury the April Flowers is not far off that. The chilling wind that blows forth is enough to freeze to the bone. The power exuded from the vocals, something that has really grown over the years, is startling. Yet, it is the emotion that pours from the guitars that turns it into an unforgettable listen.
This is Saarkoth properly announcing themselves. With a finale (Questions for the Heavens) that is as good as anything that black metal has produced this year, it confirms Cult of Nature as an unmissable listen.
They should be very proud of themselves and metal fans should be proud to see the underground producing such quality bands.
Saarkoth – Cult of Nature Full Track Listing:
1. Never the End
2. Rains Over A Dying World
3. The Great Filter
4. Burn the Forest Down
5. Sanctuaries of Oak
6. Praying to Man
7. May Winter Bury the April Flowers
8. Questions for the Heavens
Saarkoth - Cult of Nature (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9.5/10