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Taake surely is one of the most popular and respected (Norwegian) black metal bands around. There’s no doubt about that, but I think I can say that not all their releases are so well known and here’s an example of one such lesser known material. This 10” piece of black wax was released by Agonia Records more or less at the time of unleashing another quite similar 10” split MLP with Vidsyn. Originally it was limited to 1000 copies and obviously they all have been sold out a long time ago. Recently the Taake side of the vinyl has been actually re-released on the “Gravkamre, Kroner og Troner” compilation, but it would be better for you to get the original version as this way you’ll have the only chance to hear Gigantomachy!
So I guess I should start with Gigantomachy, as this project will be relatively unknown to most of you and actually they only appeared on only one release, which is this split EP with Taake. Gigantomachy was formed by ex-Taake member C.Corax, who along with an individual named Serpentor (who was responsible for the recording of some Taake releases), came up with Gigantomachy in 2005.
As I said, these two songs from “Dra Til Helvete / Restart the Night” are the only thing that Gigantomachy has ever released and it is also their final release, as Corax has left the metal scene and the band will never be back, which is fuckin' sad. And why it won’t be ever back, you ask? Well, Corax stabbed someone in the neck with a knife and went to prison where he turned his face to God! You can actually read about his conversion on the page called Psykisk Helseuke (there’s also an interview on Youtube with him, from a religious arseholed program). What a surprise, but what can one expect from Gigantomachy? Well, I must say that these two songs offer a very, very good portion of raw, obscure Norwegian black metal, one which is very close to such bands as Taake, Urgehal, Orcustus, Dodheimsgard (“Kronet til Konge”), and some other classic Norwegian stuff, even Satyricon and mid-era Darkthrone. I really like both songs; they provide a killer, dark, and obscure atmosphere and the riffing is just excellent and the band was able to truly nail everything in a perfect way.
I like everything about Gigantomachy's music including those killer vocals of Serpentor in “Earth Bound”, which sound just like Aldrahn on the classic first LP of Dodheimsgard. Both tracks are true black metal anthems, and as I already mentioned the riffing is just killer. I love those mournful misanthropic melodies, but also when Gigantomachy plays some faster, vicious, and sinister parts, it always sounds just right and I especially recommend the track called “Earth Bound”. Definitely I can say that both songs would have been a great prologue for an awesome LP if the band was still active, but well, that’s another story. All I can say now is that I strongly recommend you listen to these two songs, as they are truly FANTASTIC.
And Taake…well, with this band everyone should know exactly what to expect. “Voldtekt” kicks off with an aggressive and really cool riff and once you get used to this very raw and harsh as hell production, you’ll like it, if only you worship the band’s previous works. Actually, the whole of “Voldtekt” goes the very same path as my favourite Taake LP “Hordalands Doedskvad” musically, production-wise, and of course quality-wise, and I dare to say that if you worship this LP as well, then “Voldtekt” will hit you strong.
There’s only one thing that I don’t like about this song and it’s the fact that not only is it quite short, but also it finishes abruptly, so it seems like it hasn’t actually been finished, but it is great anyway. After that Taake delivers a cover of Destruction’s “Death Trap” from their classic “Infernal Overkill” LP, and it is, as one can expect, very well-played and actually sounds quite much like a classic Darkthrone song, so it only proves how much influence the black metal scene has been taking from the old German thrash metal scene. Just change the production for something harsher, make the playing slightly more primitive and the vocals raw as hell and there you go, but can someone please tell what is that riff that Taake added at the end of this cover? Fuck, I cannot remember it to be on the original version of “Death Trap”, but also I KNOW this riff 100%, but my memory is just blank now and I cannot put a name on it, which pisses me off, especially since I love this riff a lot. Isn’t it something from Darkthrone maybe???
Final rate: 95/100
First, look at that cover. On a black background, under the Taake logo and above an evil looking Norwegian title - well anything written in Norwegian looks evil, still there's helvete in it - you have a rectangular black and white picture of a topless Hoest in all his glory, standing in front of a naked wall - where you can see his shade on the corner - cigarette in mouth, giving you the middle finger with one of those misanthropic grins. Isn't that welcoming? I find it so, as I dig Taake's bred of anti-human black metal and with its simplicity, I find the cover to be asking me to fuck off in a rather style deprived way. So since I think that only a visual communication of Hoest's intentions in my respect isn't enough to have a total understanding as to why, and I'd prefer an auditory one as a support for my better understanding of the situation so I can better formulate a thought about it, I put the vinyl on my turntable's slip mat and adjusted my player's needle to its outer edge and let its diamond made tip decipher the analog grooves protecting the mystery.
Well, after losing some credibility as the first song barely began that he was coughing - probably because he forgot not to inhale the cigarette's smoke while doing his grin - Hoest didn't wait to fuck up again to tell me how much he'd like me to fuck off. So the song starts right in, Hoest being a little impatient and fast mouthed during the song; if he's not showing his hate for not really long, he plays some disturbing samples. It's a fast, more or less different song from Taake's trademark sound, more filthy and straightforward I'd say. The drums are blasting their way through with a lot of cymbal hits or slashing and the pace doesn't really lets down in speed, all the transitions are fast, it's like: "We don't have time for shitbags like you, so we gonna make it brief". Except the thrashy breakdown, it's tremolo picking guitars, and if I'd give one word describing the riffs, it would be "intoxicated". As if the guitar players smoked a little too much and tried to portray some sick, ugly and misanthropic thoughts they usually have in their ugly and all minds. Voldtekt supposedly means rape and since I'm no Norwegian, what I understand of the lyrics is that they probably want to make us understand they couldn't think of any better use we could be to them - maybe it's because the smoke managed to get somewhere else than in their lungs too. It's over before we know it, and our favourite haters decided that we would probably forget about their brief hateful encounter and since they wouldn't lose more time on us writing a new track to say how much they would rather rape us, they decided to cover Destruction's "Death Trap" to remind us that. Shamefully that I must admit it was my first encounter with the mighty Destruction, and I dug it the first second I heard: "You know the punishment! There is only one solution!". So much in fact, that the first time I heard the original track, I came out of the experience rather disoriented. I thought it was poorly produced, not tight at all and that the vocals sucked. Now my thoughts on Infernal Overkill have of course changed, I still come back to Taake's take - no pun intended, well yes. Since they too like to talk about evil things and the likes, and that we probably somehow bothered them while they were doing some satanic rite, "Death Trap" is an appropriate selection. It really does sound evil and menacing - I must grant you that Hoest - in its black metal make-up. It’s a solid cover and some effects like the fade-in riffing after the solo are really great. I must admit that Hoest and co. know how to not give a fuck about us and to let us know it, enough in fact, that he managed to transcend that misanthropic, fuck you, attitude unto me, and that when I'd feel pissed about something and/or want to go down in that cavern hidden somewhere in my basement, safe of any daylight and breath other than mine, Dra Til Helvete would be a release of choice to bring down there with me.
After switching to side b, I realized something I almost forgot, it's a split ep, and the other band wears the bad sounding name of Gigantomachy. Oh, and its line-up is supposedly consisted of now and then Taake members. And it's their only release - if they still exist - in their 3 year existence. If you haven't got it by now and are that clueless, not only the material featured here is from a totally unknown band despite its close ties with the other band sharing the split, it is as unremarkable as that status would suggest. First of all, since both bands share a couple of their members and each offering were recorded at around the same time, it sounds as if Taake were trying to play a more spiritual, progressive type of black metal. And well, they only show that they are better when they don't try to think too hard going out of their comfort zone. I may seem like I'm bashing the band, it's not that it's really bad, just that if the guys would have to fall in some sort of abyss of nothingness in the middle of Norway, we wouldn't notice it if it wasn't of Taake. Most of "The Soil" riffs are uninteresting, keeping the song from being anything else than that. A couple of good more meaningful riffs - cause most of them really doesn't seem to have any purpose other than filling the void the lack of guitar would create - here and there doesn't really make it worth to keep listening through the whole track, that, and those Shagrath-type vocals doesn't help either. Though "Earth Bound" is worth the trouble of changing the 10" black vinyl sides, in fact, after a couple of listens, I think it's safe to say that it's a good track. A good part of the riffs are good here, from just okay to "hey, that's actually rather good" black metal, occult sounding riffs. The vocals seem to be done by someone else here and are more akin to traditional black metal ones. Their attempt at progressiveness is more or less successful, there are a couple of good keyboards and interesting spoken parts, they really show some potential here. If the guys could smoke weed a little less often as drop their fuck you attitude more often, they could work on some potentially rather good material, but frankly, I wouldn't have bought this if it was only about Gigantomachy's side. It doesn't help either to get some renown by releasing your material on a split featuring only one original track by the most worthy band and just look like one of its member's side project. And strange thing, Hoest seem to have forgot about our troubled relashionship.
So to answer for the question you have on your lips the moment you started to read: nyay (if you didn't understand, it's a combination of the modified yes or no words; yay or nay). If you're not a big Taake fan, it's a yes only if you can get it for cheap. While Gigantomachy's second track is good, you really get it for Taake's side, and as much as the "Death Trap" cover is a solid one, there is only one original Taake track which is more or less different than their usual style. Still, it's solid. Oh and by the way, fuck you too Hoest.