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You know you've come across a record meant for only a very small and select group of folks when just about all the really important information you need to understand and appreciate the music in full is not only written in Norwegian but in the Runic script once used for writing Old Norse. That should give you some idea of Taake's determination to hoe their own lonely furrow in the diverse black metal landscape. The music certainly makes no concessions for the faint of heart: the entire recording is a single epic broken into seven parts all sounding much alike and, apart from tracks 1 and 7, not boasting any really distincit melodies.
The direction is towards the heroic and the presence of male choirs on tracks 1 and 7 gives the album a masculine but not macho quality. In lesser hands and with a different style of music, the album's concept might have become cartoony and camp but Taake's commitment to the lo-fi / minimalist aesthetic of BM makes "Nattestid Ser Porten Vid" a stunning work to hear. The production is clear but steely and cold. The throaty singing is harsh, grating and severe while the guitars concentrate on driving the music on and on, twisting all the while, so that the overall effect they create is of a continuous blizzard. Fire, ice, steel and perhaps that fatalistic North Germanic worldview of an individual pitted against the implacable forces of Nature who occasionally wins only to be struck down and killed in the end inform the spirit of this recording. Track 7 in particular sums up what I like about "Nattestid ..." - the epic and heroic aspects of the record's concept are balanced by dark music that concentrates on getting the job done with few silly frills and is all fast, savage and turbulent. Everything you hear is lean and austere. This is what I call good taste!
An original version of this review appeared in The Sound Projector (Issue 14, 2005 - 2006) which is now out of print.