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A Neoclassical Approach to Black Metal - 94%

Lycaon, August 11th, 2004

Few albums such as this debut of the Norwegian pioneers Taake can claim to have instilled a new breath into an artistically dying genre, Norse Black Metal. Formerly known as Thule, this band released a considerable amount of demos and ep's until it reached the peak of its creativeness with this album.

Recorded in the renowned Grieghallen studios, the music posseses and ambient-like quality due to raw and full of reverb sound which is reminiscent of early Emperor recordings. The music itself points towards the first bands of the Norwegian Era; Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum and Ulver are the backbone of the musical subconcious of this band, however Taake are far away from being called a rip off. Though the aesthetic of the band does not differ significantly from the "Norsecore" standards the music evolves in a manner possibly first to be heard until then. Taake's riffs and melodies resemble folk music in feeling and character and classical in the density and evolvement of the musical phrases; melodic, epic and tonal they transcend typical power chord riffs and move on to a way of synthesis we could compare to the baroque counterpoint (contrapunctum) meaning two or more series of partas (melodies) unfolding independently but combining themselves to create polyphonic music, thus enhancing the overall quality of the music. It should be said ofcourse that Taake were not the originators of this particular technique (it was Darkthrone and Burzum) but in Taake it is excecuted more developed, in my opinion.

So Taake managed to make a technical and musical breakthrough, but is this work destined to stand at the same height as the cornerstones of Norgwegian black metal namely Hvis Lysset Tar Oss, Transilvanian Hunger, Nattens Madrigal and a couple of others? The answer is no, but Taake were close. The quality of 1-2 songs does not reach the great level of chapter 1 and 3, Hoest vocals are not anything special, some riffs shouldn't exist, some others could be evolved more... Some details in other words that if they were paid the proper attention Nattestid would be the greatest masterpiece of the Norwegian scene at least from 1994 and on.

In conclusion Nattestid Sed Porten Vid is an album every follower of quality Black Metal should have; it marks the transision of black metal from rock-based music to a neoclassic and artistic approach without betraying the aesthetic, musical and ideological standards this music stands for.