|Review: Taake - Taake|
Label: Dark Essence Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: February 25, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
If you read my other Taake reviews, you’ll have worked out that I’m quite the fan, so when I found out there was going to be a new album in late 2008 it quickly became one of my most anticipated releases of that year. It took a while but finally I had my copy of the self-titled long player in my sweaty hands and I eagerly dropped it in my CD player. I was elated! Here was the same old school Black Metal love I had come to expect and I started to think this was the best Taake album yet. Fast forward four or so months and the story has changed, just a little bit…
A Taake album was defined by two things prior to this self-titled disc: rip roaring old school Black Metal riffs, and superb folksy melodies thrashed out by razor-sharp guitars. Well I’m very glad to say that the former is still here in spades! Taake is chock-full of head banging goodness courtesy of some of the best second wave style Black Metal riffs going around. The latter however is curiously absent. There is nary a folk-inspired melody or riff to be heard here and it really is a big disappointment. Some tracks have a kind of "folky feel" to the riffs in places such as the mid section of "Lukt til Helvete", but there are no balls out folk melodies such as Doedskvad I and they really are sorely missed. Happily though there are some absolute killer Black Metal anthems on display here such as the utterly vicious "Doedsjarl" with its pummeling drums and Darkthrone-esque punkiness, and the excellent "Umenneske" overflowing as it is with high energy riffing and Tom Warrior death grunts. Album closer "Velg Bort Livet" is a huge track that rolls on for its ten and a half minute length crushing all in its path with its ponderous pace and august epic Viking riffery, and by itself is more or less worth the price of admission. However, Taake does not have a track on par with Doedskvad III, Bjoergvin IV or Nattestid VII, and while "Velg Bort Livet" does come close it just does not have the same larger than life feel of those tracks. Hoest’s voice is in fine form once again with his shrill harsh screeches filling the album with the wintery coldness you expect from such expert vocal chords. There are no clean vocals on this album but they are not really missed as there is no opportunity, the tracks demand Black Metal vocals, and that is what they get.
The production is a bit of a mixed bag. It sounds like there are two very different guitars on offer here with a fat mid-range tone holding the album together, and a thin fuzzed out one mirroring every riff. It is a really good effect, providing a tone somewhere between the coldness of Nattestid… and the warmer tones of …Doedskvad. The negative side of this is the tendency for the infamous washing machine effect to occasionally become audible when the pace picks up, and while it is only mildly impacting it can be distracting to have that white pulsating throb riding along with the riffs.
Despite my complaints, this disc is still full of riotous Black Metal riffs and mid paced second wave head nodding goodness. However, it is impossible to take this album on its own merits given the precedents set by Taake’s previous material and in this context Taake is an inferior album – don’t come into it expecting more of that unique folksy edged Black Metal on offer on the Nattestid…Bjoergvin…Doedskvad trilogy. But with that said, an inferior Taake album is still better than 80% of the Black Metal out there, and once you come to terms with this slightly more cut back direction you will find yourself having a heap of fun with it.
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