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A fresh breeze in the stagnant realm of BM! - 95%

Karkaton, October 27th, 2008

From Hoest’s first morbid shriek of "Hellnorsk svart mitaal!!" (or something of the like), "Hordalands Doedskvad" grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go until the end of an epic, unforgettable experience. This is straight up melodic black metal with a strong Norse folk influence along the lines of Windir and the early works of Dimmu Borgir. In other words – Awesome stuff.

The guitar work is, how can I say…Fucking impressive for black metal. Complex, inventive, original, folkish, melodic and brutal. What more can one ask for? There’s even a strange, dare I say “indie” type riff in the middle of Part V which couldn’t have been done better by the likes of The Strokes or Razorlight themselves (Haha!). But don’t get the wrong idea, Taake does not make crap, soft mainstream music. On the contrary, the riffs on this album are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. From true black metal to experimenting with clean guitars and even a BIT of the piano, the riffs are extremely captivating and well done.

The production is quite clear and works brilliantly with the music, and quite a few session musicians are used on this album, like Nattefrost from Carpathian Forest. The drums are well crafted and extremely precise. The rhythms are also very fresh (not just a wall of blasting) and complement the music perfectly. The bass does some amazing work – walking riffs in particular that feature breathtaking “Viking” type riffs. The vocals are top notch! Hoest really delivers with his harsh yet accessible screams.

It is almost impossible to pick out a single stand out track, but my favourite tracks are Part I and the instrumental track that is Part VI, as they exhibit a vast diversity and abundance of riffs and different progressions in their many sections.

“Hordalands Doedskvad” is one of the best black metal albums I have ever heard. It is a pity that more people do not know about Taake and the extraordinary works of Hoest. This album proves that quality Norwegian black metal is still in our midst!