Origin: Bergen, Vestland, Norway 🇳🇴
Label: Black Metal
Norway’s Taake – a staple namesake for any and all black metal enthusiasts who’ve grown beyond the genre’s earliest influences/crimes and who have settled into the notion that true BM should be of the nostalgic consort. National pride to be stirred up from among the Land of the Midnight Sun’s Heathen souls and as far as the project’s mastermind Hoest is concerned, the inverted cross and pentagram no longer illicit the same level of reprehension from the herd. So, for Taake, it’s a simple matter of honor and heritage.
We all grow up eventually and for Hoest, this natural progression of years going by has only produced some of the genre’s finest material. A vintage to be imbibed with all character and complexity to savor as opposed to a volatile concoction of Diabolism and hatred. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter. We all love some old Gorgoroth and Mayhem but Taake just isn’t there and hasn’t ever truly ventured down that particular creative avenue anyway. It’s been six years since the release of 2017’s Kong Vinter” LP and considering this quality over all approach along with Hoest’s intangible nature when it comes to interviewing or dealing with journalists, it’s felt like a much longer wait for something new out of Taake camp. But alas the time has finally arrived for a brand new album and today marks that very special occasion. It’s record release day and Taake has bestowed upon salivating hordes the world over “Et Hav av Avstand” through Dark Essence records.
Taake is a solo venture now. Has been since 2007, so it’s Hoest’s sole vision that has spawned the project’s past four LP’s. So, with “Et Hav av Avstand” prepare for another volume of storytelling done his way. Judging by song titles, this one feels a bit more personal when compared to the aforementioned “Kong Vinter” that detailed one’s dreadful trudge through the frigid Northern Hell known as the Norwegian forest. “An Ocean of Distance” – there’s a palpable sense of yearning within the album’s title alone.
With “Et Hav av Avstand”, Taake is once again staking its claim upon the right to be labeled a true Norwegian black metal endeavor. Each track strikes up from internal kindling a blaze of Norwegian pride as projects like Kampfar and Gehenna are drawn to mind with every passing progression. This latest compositional specimen of a record features four tracks clocking in at just over forty-two minutes worth of the purest Norwegian product. Nothing too catchy or repetitive, just that signature complexity in melodicism that has captivated fans since the beginning. The opening track “Denne Forblaaste Ruin av en Bro” to open tradition’s floodgate and set the mood. And as always, it’s a game of guesswork. Anticipate nothing and simply strap yourself in for the ride as they say. Conventional songwriting techniques do not exist here. We all love the palate-soothing nature of verse chorus verse song structure, but things only get more intricate here as each second of runtime unfolds into the next. Hoest could’ve easily made this one of those one-track long full-lengths that have become somewhat popular over the years. There’s that same level of unpredictability to it; a weightlessness to be felt as if you’re upon a helium drift as opposed to being violently propelled through the experience.
You’ll literally get lost in this thing. Hoest holds nothing back as usual and offers up a feast of fire for the pyromaniac. Everything you’ve come to adore about the project to be found in every following album cut. And by the time the closing track, “Et Uhyre av en Kniv” wanes through its final seconds, there’s a feeling of honor and of pride in both the Norwegian scene and in being a black metal person that’s left to be felt. True Norwegian black metal – a pretty fine example. No souped-up production techniques and nothing contemporary about it. Not your typical early 90’s worshipping record but not the latest Immortal album either; just a nice balance between what’s olde, what’s new and everything in between. The only drawback being some of the rather boring or overly drawn out parts of the recording that are found particularly within the center cut, “Gid sprakk Vi”, which had me hovering my finger over the skip button.
A triumph over the previous album, but not quite as good as the ones that came before that is “Et Hav av Avstand”. There’s somewhat of a one-dimensional feel in both product and mixing that plagues the recording. You’ll be wondering where the bass is as guitar and drums dominate each second of space. But there’s more of a layered effect to the guitars that was missing from “Kong Vinter”, which makes for a more intricate and a less dry experience. True Norwegian black metal perfection? Not quite but a proud album nonetheless. Shortly put, the new Taake album sounds like a new Taake album. No bells, no whistles, no compromise. Worthy of your time and perhaps even a second spin.
Experience “Et Hav av Avstand” by Taake right here as presented by Black Metal Promotion: