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Taake – Noregs Vaapen - 90%

Asag_Asakku, July 19th, 2012

Only a handful of black metal groups worldwide are able to generate some real enthusiasm for each new album. Taake rightfully belongs to that elite faction. This Norwegian band, formed during the early 1990s and leaded since by Ørjan Stedjeberg (better known by his stage name “Hoest”) has only five albums, but each has marked the history of dark metal. The “trilogy” (Ser Porten Vid Nattestid, Over Bjoergvin Graat Himmerik Doedskvad and Hordaland, albums released between 1999 and 2005) is still considered to be among the best Norwegian black metal records of all time. After a rather average self-titled album released in 2008 and some disappointments (including the infamous Essen concert episode), Taake is back with a new offering called Noregs Vaapen. So, what Bergen’s enfant terrible will unleash this time?

As soon as the first notes of Fra vadested til vaandesmed rang, it readily acknowledges most aesthetic characteristics of Taake’s music, which draws its inspiration deeply into greatest Norwegian black metal somber years. Both furious and desperate, first song sets the tone. Hoest’s voice, one of the best of its kind, along with excellent riffs, is supported by precise drumming. Keyboard which concludes the song adds an unexpected dimension for this band, used to more conventional forms. This is evidenced by Orkan, a more traditional song, which would have sounded good on any of the band’s first albums, with its repetitive rhythmic riffs and “vintage” atmosphere. But the album really takes off with Nordbundet, a dynamic rock song, sounding alike to fellow Carpathian Forest. Du Ville Ville Vestland remains pure Taake, but Myr, however, might make the strongest impression because of the highly successful use of a freakin’ banjo as a solo instrument! I honestly could not believe my ears. What audacity! I doubt that this initiative spreads, but it is worth noticing it. Group does it again on Helvetesmakt, but this time with a mandolin, which adds a tragic dimension to this excellent and very intense piece. Conclusive Dei vil alltid Klage og kyta is a true synthesis of the album, which ends in a noisy fog evoking northern fjords. Also take note of many renowned artists collaboration, such as Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone), Attila Csihar (Mayhem) and Demonaz (Immortal).

This album meets expectations, however huge, that critics and fans may have for Taake and its leader. Constituting a vital bridge between Norwegian black metal glorious past and its future, Noregs Vaapen will become one of those classic that no one will ever get tired of listening. 9/10

Originally written for Métal Obscur.