Taake - Nattestid Ser Porten Vid
Wounded Love Records
Black Metal
7 songs (41:55)
Release year: 1999
Taake
Reviewed by James
Archive review

All things considered, the last couple of years of the 20th Century were a bit of a lean time for black metal. The glory days of the Norwegian scene were over, with many of the key players out of action (Burzum) sliding into musical irrelevancy (Darkthrone) or abandoning black metal completely (Ulver). So along come Taake, a band who are in every way a throwback to the prime years of True Norwegian Black Metal. Aside from the notoriously controversy-courting antics of one Mr Ulvhedin Hoest, the music is a throwback to classic Emperor, Satyricon and Ulver. Hoest even uses the winning Grieghallen/Erik Pytten production combination that worked so well for so many bands in the early 90s. During this particularly difficult time in black metal (the USBM movement hadn't yet come to prominence, of course) Taake's unwavering comittment to orthodox black metal dogma made them flag-bearers for the genre in a time when it truly needed something special.

Of course, all this would be merely posturing if the music couldn't back it up, and while Taake don't do anything particularly new, there's a true passion for black metal here that lifts the music to another level. Hoest's knack for writing blazingly fast yet refined riffs (this isn't the bestial thrashing of say, early Immortal) colours the album throughout. Indeed, Nattestid Ser Porten Vid, being essentially one long piece despite a couple of breaks here and there, is basically a collection of high-quality black metal riffs. It's not quite as catchy as something like Nattens Madrigal, but the riffs are fiery enough to keep you listening to the end. There's also a strangely epic feel to the album, evoking the same atmosphere of mighty Vikings and times gone by as Enslaved (Indeed, the very name Taake was a tribute by Hoest to the fog that often surrounds his native Bergen). The heart and passion in this album is perhaps best shown in the howl of Hoest himself, throwing in the odd spot of cleanly sung chanting for good measure, particularly on I and VII.

Although it doesn't come quite up to the same standards as the legends it clearly was influenced by (and hence misses out by the narrowest of margins on classic status), Nattestid is still a vitally important record in black metal history. Why? Because it showed that Norway could still produce exciting traditional black metal in a time when it needed it most. As enjoyable as the more experimental wing of black metal is, there's still nothing quite as thrilling as black metal in its purest, most orthodox form. Hoest understood this perfectly, and combined the best parts of Norway's finest to produce an album that can stand up proudly on its own merits. It's not perfect by any means: you'll be hard pushed to really remember much from it, unless you know it inside out, but Nattestid Ser Porten Vid is nothing less than a hymn to the majesty of black metal. Hoest understands the genre like few others, and if you're not awestruck by the majestic choral climax to the record, well, black metal just isn't for you. Taake may not be the band they once were, trading off the majesty of old for excess aggression, but lest we forget, there was a time when Ulvhedin Hoest stood a fair chance of claiming the title of reigning king of Norwegian black metal.

Killing Songs :
All
James quoted 90 / 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 - Taake reviewed by Charles and quoted 72 / 100
Taake - Hordaland Doedskvad reviewed by Daniel and quoted 96 / 100
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