Taake - Taake
Svartekunst Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (46:03)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Charles
In the thirteen years since its first demo recordings, the (pretty much) one-man band that is Taake has gained devoted admirers; enthralled by its uncompromisingly Nordic, icy-to-the core music. If there is one currently-existing band that perfectly encapsulates the forest-dwelling, arctic wilderness-traversing spirit that the more folkish end of Norwegian black metal first envisioned on records such as Bergtatt, it is this one. Whilst Taake's sound is rather less unprecedented and quirky than that of such unique works as Ulver's early albums, the atmosphere and audial imagery seems to come from the same place.

Taake's sound has changed over the years, but only within clear parameters. The first two records, Nattestid and Bjoergvin, were emotive and enigmatic, characterised by meandering, poignant melodic riffs that wound their way through a windswept blur of dense sound. The last album, Doedskvad, seemed to strip away some of this mystery and present a slightly more obviously folk-metalish, dare I say catchy, take on similar musical territory, replete with they occasional "Hey! Hey!" sections that even remind the listener at times of an entirely different metallic proposition, Finntroll. To my ears, Doedskvad did not reach the same emotional or artistic depths as previous works.

This self-titled album seems to balance these two sides to an extent, combining moments of headbanging power with a rather more soulful side, but overall reminds me more of Doesdkvad than the first two. The tracks on this album are fairly long, and each tends to pass through several different moods. It is common for a tune to burst out of the blocks with monumental ferocity, only to segue into more thoughtful meandering sections. At times, this works stagerringly well, such as when the closing wash of guitar noises at the end of Atternatt gives way to the furious entry of Umenneske. As with all Taake albums, this is meant to be consumed as a whole rather than as tracks in isolation, and so the power of transitions like this has real purpose to it, rather than just being an accident of song-ordering.

At times, of course, it can also be a slight problem. There are times when you wonder where a track is going. Ummeneske begins so blindingly; do we really need the waffle that goes on between 2:46 and lasts until about the 7:00 mark, for example? The slower sections do seem to weigh heavily on the album as a whole, breaking up its flow, and generally being a bit of a chore to listen to. It gives the impression of being a grower. The depth of some of the more melodically-inclined passages doesn't hit you immediately, so its possible that my opinion of it could be revised upwards over time. But as it is, it's a good but not great album, that doesn't quite capture enough energy and soul to really ignite, despite some undeniably magnificent moments.

Killing Songs :
Ummeneske, September Omsider
Charles quoted 72 / 100
Goat quoted 83 / 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 - Hordaland Doedskvad reviewed by Daniel and quoted 96 / 100
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