sink-aocaa-sleevesJust like death and taxes, you can count on Svart Records to artfully bestow the weird and the wonderful. I can elaborate… Not too long ago Vainaja earned themselves a kind word or two with Verenvalaja. Towards the back end of 2015, Sabbath Assembly‘s self-titled album bewitched Steely D. Kuolemanlaakso continues to confound. And let’s not forget Jess and the Ancient Ones‘, Second Psychedelic Coming being without a weak moment. The Process marked the first full-length release by Sink, showcasing the crude conception of their black metal, neoclassical, noise and drone bundle. At some point towards 2011, the Finns signed to Svart Records, releasing first The Holy Testament and later The Holy Testament 2. I’m yet to track these down. Ark of Contempt and Anger‘s promo blurb begins by saying that “Sink have once again created an oddly compelling and strangely enchanting album that is truly in a league of its own.” Add to that, Sink promises rich and complex compositions woven with enigmatic lyrics, and I’ll admit I had a hard time resisting this.

Barely a track into Ark of Contempt and Anger, it dawned on me how adept Sink have become at achieving extremity without actually being “extreme” in the traditional sense. They’re not plying you with phlegmy croaks or meeting you head on with hostility, there’s no mention of Satan and there’s no lightning speed tremolo picking. Instead they lure with sensual vocalization, surreal melody, droning and uncomfortable din, and by contorting layers that set your imagination on fire. Each carefully delivered suggestion charms with the power of the Pied Piper, and we are the rats.

“Hunger” manifests with nauseating slowness. Revealing a hint of Tom Waits atmosphere, some New Keepers of the Water Towers progressiveness before starting down the path Tiamat carved with Wildhoney and Prey. Instrumentally it’s based around a simple melody, enhanced with interference, blending together in a percussive manner making use of uncomfortable timing. It’s a dark little number that artfully seems more complex and dynamic than it really is. Vocals contribute perfectly, Mauno Konkkas delivery adopts a mechanical quality that sounds more like an old radio transmission, hypnotizing as it ramps upward. Konkkas employs what seems like a different vocal style on each track, and to get the full range or extent of what he and his consort have on offer, you’ll need to experience the entirety of Ark of Contempt and Anger.

“Pilgrimage” and “Dream Map” pass by a lot quicker than you’d expect, and both are outstanding continuations and yet contradictions of the opener. “Pilgrimage” features a folksy melodic drawl that reminds me of the epic style of Hexvessel‘s “Cosmic Truth” while at the same time capturing the quiet concentration of Sólstafir‘s recent outing (Ótta), all while keeping song length carefully in check. “Dream Map” changes things up, combining the slow burning impression of Ulver‘s character with psycho-acoustical hints of My Dying Bride to create a truly beautiful dreamscape.

Sink - Ark of Contempt and Anger 02

The remainder of the album becomes progressively more disjointed, being split up with instrumental tracks (“Consolation,” “Terminal” and “World Asthma”). I use the term instrumental loosely, as there are instances where chants are barely discernible over the hum and buzz. All three tracks have a serious nature and inject an isolation, a loneliness, into Ark of Contempt and Anger. From the unusual Andreas Vollenweider-styled melody infused with Bollywood musicality on “Enchant,” to the rattling chain of the ceremonial thurible swinging back and forth, permeating “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving” with the inescapable scent of incense and ceremony, this album is packed with magic of the highest form.

Sink‘s latest offering far exceeds what they’ve put out in the past. With a production quality so immaculate and dynamic it perfectly shows off each subtletly interesting instrumentation and samples, vocalism that staves off as much as it attracts. My only complaint is that Sink are not creating “metal” in the truest form of the word. It’s a silly complaint as this is an outstanding album. Sink have risen to the challenge created by artists like Tiamat, Sólstafir and Chelsea Wolfe, and if you’re going to take a chance on one unusual album this year, let it be Sink‘s Ark of Contempt and Anger.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Svart Records
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: June 17th, 2016

  • Diego Molero

    I know there are some jokes about that dog and that butt, but I lack imagination, so I’ll let that too others.
    Just by the review this sounds very interesting, Madam. Will check this out for sure.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      The dog from Maigre! Who’s a good boy?!

  • Madam, you have my attention. This sounds like a spectacular effort.

    • Truly wish these guys had had a soundcloud file available or a video link.

      • Bart the Repairman

        I found two, but I can’t give even slightest tips here, apparently they are treated as spam…

        • The soundcloud came up faulty yesterday on my side. I’ll give them another try today, thanks!

  • Ben Harris

    Where would one go to buy this? I only see their older stuff.

    • It’s on the Svart Records webshop.

      • Ben Harris

        Thank you sir!

      • Oscar Albretsen

        MP3 download, only 350 made? I guess it’s not coming on CD…

        • Excentric_13073

          …Only 350 MP3 copies made? Is that even possible? Are they maybe referring to 350 CDs or something?

          • Oscar Albretsen

            I didn’t get it either, but that’s what the website says. Must be taking it off the page after 350 orders or something. Although, why the hell would they do that?

          • Jack

            If you look closely, you will find that it is a vinyl release of 350 copies. Be sharp!

          • Oscar Albretsen

            Well, if I listened to vinyl, I’d kiss you.

          • Jack

            Looks like no CD this time. I found it available for download in iTunes. I guess it’s in spotify too.

      • Akira Watts

        Man. 18 euros for an MP3 download? Coupled with the puzzling reference to only 350 copies available, which doesn’t make a lot of sense in a digital context, I’m thinking that the MP3 download reference on Smart’s site may be erroneous. All of their other stuff is available as a download on their Bandcamp page. I’m assuming this latest will show up there eventually.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Madam X, I am starting to wonder whether or not you realize this website is called Angry Metal Guy, not Prog-rock Nord-enthusiast Woman.

    • When something’s marked as high priority on the promo list somebody’s obligated to pick up the review. This wouldn’t have been, and wasn’t, my first pick of albums, but in hindsight I’m glad I got to spend time with it.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        90% of the non-metal records you review end up on my top ten lists; twas all in good jest (hence the attached bum spouting typical elitist nonsense)

        Definitely excited to give this a spin!

        • I got a good giggle out of that, I’ll admit. Where’s my unicorn though??

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            I emplore you to look a little closer; the answer you seek is hidden in plain sight!

            *laughs in evil*

    • Quiet you mouth, Foxface!

    • Pretty cheeky.

    • Blueberry Balls

  • Feytalist

    Wildhoney namedropped. Interest peaked.

    • Piqued.

      • Feytalist

        Argh. Fuck you, brain.

        Thanks tho :D

        • sir_c

          Got mixed up with Friday night? ?

  • Oscar Albretsen

    High scoring, prog or non metal albums usually end up being some of my favorites, but I can’t find this anywhere. Obviously not out yet, but I can’t find any information about when it’s gonna be released either. This is gonna drive me mad. MAD, I tell ya!

    • It’s on Svart Records website. Seems to be available for purchase.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Good to know it’s available, but I don’t own any mp3 streams on my computer. If I bought it, I’d forget I even own it in a couple months. Everyone I know goes one way or the other when they listen – either they’ve got all their music in that huge file on their computer (much cleaner and more efficient) or, like me, they still go the old fashioned route and have all their music in that big ‘ole CD rack. Thing is, I rarely find people that do both, and music is usually released in both formats. Oh well, I just spent $40 on “Night” by Gazpacho, so I got plenty of great music to hold me through.

    • Posted a link under Ben Harris below – did you give that a try? Sink have also confirmed the entire album will stream on their Bandcamp page about 2 days from now.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Well, I’m just weird and I have to have an actual physical copy of stuff I’m listening to. Doesn’t appear that there are any current plans to release this on CD.

  • beurbs

    Taxes bestow the weird and wonderful?

  • Wilhelm

    Wow – This actually sounds more like something from Tiamat’s “A Deeper Kind of Slumber” mixed with Arcana’s “Cantar De Procella”, which is a recipe for greatness.

  • Thatguy

    Interesting – and great review as usual Madame X. It’s not naked guy in promo picture that piques my interest though. There’s a dog on the album art!

    • It’s pretty eye-catching indeed… The dog not the naked guy.

  • Alexandre Barata

    So many masterpieces coming out of Svart Records… That’s an amazing label, I tell you!

  • Xaviaranja Anan-Khatar

    The vocals in Sink are actually sung by Kankaanpää, not Konkka. Good review, though.

  • Sikrion

    My favorite album of the year so far I think :) Figures Madam X review it.

  • Innit Bartender

    Guy posing like LaVey, guy with gas mask, naked guy with gloves, photoshopped block-across-the-street as background… as band photos go, someone took a lot of effort to make this one.

  • AnnieK13

    Liking the sample track, going to have to check out the rest of the album for sure.

  • bolok

    great review :) sounds interesting…

  • Jukka Alanen

    Thank you madam! Just ordered my vinyl from Svart Records. So they thank you as well. :)