without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
First of all, HOLY SHIT PART IV. I find myself singing this track in my head almost daily. This was the first Taake track I ever heard and it blew my fucking mind.
The album, from beginning to end, is nothing short of a masterpiece. A small guitar fade in and you're on your way to a fantastic listening experince. The first track is simultaneously brutal and melodic and just has an amazing feel to it. Then the rest of the album follows suit.
Never does this release feel repetitive, cliche or contrived; rather, it is the opposite of all of those things. When listening to the songs, I thought, "wow, these guys seriously know how to write." Everything is proportioned correctly from the duration of repeated riffs to the complete song structure. They know exactly when to change and when to hold their ground. I haven't been this impressed in a long time... actually since I was first introduced to REAL metal. This band is a complete standout in black metal as well as metal as a whole.
As a huge proponent of blast beats, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised as to how well they make the drumming work here. Blast beats are all about intensity which works SO well in metal but they have really added an element of musicallity with the percussion work. And it is surprisingly diverse for a black metal album. Sure, the drummer blasts from time to time but most of the time is spent bringing out the rest of the music with various patterns and fills.
The vocals are pretty ruthless. Hoest does an awesome job from beginning to end. Not a whole lot of variance here but he keeps the music intense and stimulating throughout so there is nothing negative to be said.
The biggest element here though is the guitars. The riffs are very folkish but in a way that never, ever makes you think that this is anything other than pure and true black metal. You won't find any breakdowns or childish chugging filler. Just fucking ruthless riff to fucking ruthless riff, all with a classical, folkish tinge to them. This is EXACTLY what melodic black metal should be.
The production is quite clear in terms of black metal, however, that doesn't mean that it is overproduced. It sounds like it should. Imagine early Marduk: the guitars are heavily distorted and have a "static" effect to them but you can decipher every note that is played.
For me, the standout tracks are parts I, VI and again, holy shit IV. Seriously, part IV, from beginning to end is one of the greatest black metal songs ever written. Everything about it was just perfect. And the end was so fucking epic that I can't begin to explain it.
In conclusion, GO BUY THIS ALBUM. Just do it. I don't care if you're a fan of nothing metal. I have actually shown some people I know who have nothing to do with the genre this album and it fucking blew them away.
And one more thing: BOING. How the hell they managed to make a mouth harp work in part III I don't know, but it does. And it's fucking cool.