Taake - Hordaland Doedskvad
Dark Essence Records
Black Metal
7 songs (50:37)
Release year: 2005
Taake, Dark Essence Records
Reviewed by Daniel
Album of the month

When thinking of Black Metal classics, the early/min nineties Norwegian “scene” immediately jumps to my mind. Some of the purest, bleakest, most intense pieces of art ever conceived emerged from that period of time in that frostbitten kingdom of snow and darkness. Unfortunately in the last couple of years, the Norwegian Black Metal scene has lost its godly status.

Black Metal has come to a point where it has to evolve; now more than ever, it needs to continue growing and maturing. And that brings us to the next problem: the evolution itself. Many bands have tried to evolve and create unique and fresh variations of Black Metal, and in that they have succeeded….. partially. Why partially? Well, because while the music can be good, they get to a point where they aren’t really playing Black Metal anymore. Of all the genres in the vast world of Metal, I believe that there are few that have such a delicate balance as Black Metal has, and that balance can be quite easily disturbed, and consequently bring the extinction of the true Black Metal essence in the music; ironically enough, one of the easiest ways to fail in the attempt of maintaining this essence is trying to evolve. In order to successfully create Black Metal there are several aspects like production, atmosphere, musicianship, ideology and of course the music per se, that need to be carefully observed, and in this balance of elements, is where the complexity of Black Metal lies. So at the end of the day it comes up to the following: Black Metal bands of the XXI Century need to evolve without forgetting their true Black Metal roots. Consequently we are left with three major groups: bands that are so stuck in the pure sound of the 90’s that they present nothing new to the genre (all the Darkthrone clones); bands that in the process of evolution forget their roots and stop being Black Metal (Behemoth); and the bands that actually manage to balance the true Black Metal essence while evolving, the bands that conserve their roots but that break new ground at the same time; those few bands are the true, the elite.

Now, returning to Norway. As most Black Metal fans know, nowadays most of the new bands from Norway fall in the first two groups and that is why I consider the Black Metal scene in Norway dormant at the moment, because of the amount of mediocrity that plagues it. Yet, among the mediocrity that seems has possessed it, a true jewel of the darkest most passionate form shines with a black flame as intense as the sun, and as ominous as night itself; that jewel is Taake.

Hoest is probably the most intelligent Black Metal song writer to walk the face of the earth at the moment, and his band Taake is without a doubt proof that Black Metal can actually evolve while maintaining it’s pure, raw, grim essence intact.

Hordaland Doedskvad is the third and final chapter of the amazing Nattestid... Bjoergvin... Doedskvad trilogy, and once again Taake have succeeded in creating breath-taking art of the highest caliber.

Taake has the very unique ability to create very majestic and epic moments similar in caliber (not in sound) to those Emperor once created, but without using keyboards. Also, the melancholy is something very present in the album, maybe not as much as in Nattestid… where it was the main element, but it definitely has some very melancholic moments that will surely throw shivers down your spine.

The strength in Taake are obviously the guitar riffs, which feature some of the most beautiful and epic melodies ever in Black Metal history, and which are the most original I’ve heard in a long long time. Taake makes use of traditional Black Metal tremolo picking patterns and guitar harmonization but with a twist; this twist consists in throwing in unexpected elements and variations to the mix, (in the particular case of …Doedskvad, Thrash elements seem to be the main resource taken), thing that makes the music sound fresh and powerfull. Another thing that makes Taake’s music so amazing is how incredibly the melodies flow, there’s not one moment in the entire album that seems forced or one single riff that could be considered a filler, all of the songs’ sections blend seamlessly; plus, each song has enough twists and turns to maintain the listener totally submerged in the experience.

The bass is present in the album, adding body and strength to the music and the drum work is very good as well. Hoest growls and shrieks passionately throughout the album, and he also receives help from fellow Norwegian growler Nattefrost (Carpathian Forest) and I must say that I enjoyed his contributions to the album. …Doedskvad features almost no clean singing thing that while not essential, it is always enjoyable. Production wise the album resembles …Bjoergvin… , with it’s clear and modern production, which at the same times manages to avoid the over-polished sound that many bands have recently adopted.

When comparing Hordaland Doedskvad to the other albums of the trilogy, there’s no doubt that …Doedskvad is closer to …Bjoergvin… , with a cleaner production and a more modern and tangible approach to the music than the dreamier and darker Nattestid… .

Taake is one of those very few bands that will make your soul feel in total ecstasy, that will make your mind run through endless mystical fog-filled forests, and that will make every single particle of your body vibrate. When listening to Taake, time stops and Hoest’s glorious compositions are all that remain.

Taake's trilogy is without a doubt one of the biggest masterpieces of the last decade and living proof that Black Metal can evolve without loosing it's essence.

Killing Songs :
All of them slay!
Daniel quoted 96 / 100
Other albums by Taake that we have reviewed:
Taake - Stridens Hus reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Taake - Noregs Vaapen reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Taake - Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik reviewed by Kyle and quoted 93 / 100
Taake - Nattestid Ser Porten Vid reviewed by James and quoted 90 / 100
Taake - Taake reviewed by Charles and quoted 72 / 100
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