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I was never too into Black Metal after a bad introduction to it, but I got on the right rack and recently gave Hordaland Doedskvad a listen. This is one of the best Black Metal albums I’ve ever heard, and it’s up there with my favorite releases from bands like Horna, 1349, and Windir.
This release by Taake is not the type of Black Metal that I expected it to be. I was thinking of something along the lines of Darkthrone or Epheles. I was immediately rushed by a sheer wave of brilliance once I started up this first song, cleverly titled “Hordaland Doedskvad Part I” (like true Taake fashion, the songs have no individual names, they are just chapters in a trilogy that ended with this release).
The musicianship here is very varied. It has both melody and brutality, as well as the use of the entire guitar, unlike the same four chords played over and over again on Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger. The musical spectrum displayed on this album is astonishing, especially from the Norwegian Black Metal scene, from which many bands have duplicated Darkthrone’s style. The drumming is nothing special, though Black Metal drumming never really was. The vocals are the trademark Black Metal guttural, pained scream. Typical vocals and drumming, but it is all executed perfectly. I noticed that the whole album has an early Celtic Frost sound to it, which helped boost it up in my appeal to it. Don’t misunderstand; this is not a rip off. It just has the same feel as To Mega Therion.
Overall, Hordaland Doedskvad is a large step up from Nattestid Ser Porten Vid (although it is still a fantastic album, and I have yet to get my hands on Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik). This entire album is brilliant, and I hope that Taake will continue to get better and better with each release.
For people who are not too into Black Metal or want to delve deeper into the depths of this genre, seek out this release. You won’t regret spending your money (or your time if you choose to download it) on one of the best albums to come out of the Black Metal scene.