without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
When I heard all the buzz about this band being one of the greatest, ‘truest’ bands to come out in the BM scene after the mid-90s I was expecting something a bit more regressive, so I was pleasantly surprised when this disc finally arrived (something of a minor miracle in itself - the first three times I ordered it the place sold out between the time I ordered it and the time they shipped it!) and I heard technical black metal done right. The best way I can describe Taake is this: think about what Emperor was trying to do on "Anthems...", and then imagine they got it right. Not that they’re just following Emperor’s formula (new or old) for success - the two bands just share a lot of common elements. The songs are built on multiple textures, with a raging, churning ‘undercurrent’ of drums and razor-sharp guitar riffing, overlaid with classical-styled melodies and screechy-high vocals. While Emperor used keyboards and clean vox for their melodic drive, Taake is exclusively a guitar-based band, which only makes the songs even more impressive to me - clean electrics and even acoustics provide a lot of the melodic movement in songs (and even the bass in isolated parts - something Emperor never did - while the choir vox in Taake are mercifully restrained and sparse).
I realize I’ve probably described Taake too much in terms of another band, but they really do come across as unique in the one department that truly counts - song writing. While the surface elements of Taake are easily enough compared, it’s the songs themselves that are most impressive. They do have that classical/avant-garde edge because of the melodies used and the orchestration of instruments, but the overall mood stays grim and dark throughout, and never descends into the self-important pomposity that Emperor were guilty of even in parts of ITNE. "Nattestid..." is simply 42 minutes of dark emotion - and what more would you want out of a Black Metal album?
(Another plus is not only the complete lack of hype, it’s a complete lack of the ‘lack of hype’ hype so prevalent in BM nowadays - The packaging is very sparse, with lyrics written in an indecipherable ‘rune’ font, and there is only one photo of the songwriter with no listing of his name, only a listing of the session drummer/bassist and producer. There’s not even a track listing....CULT!!!)
(Originally published at LARM (c) 2000)