Taake - Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik
Wounded Love Records
Black Metal
7 songs (39:05)
Release year: 2002
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

Just a week or so ago I found myself gradually descending into one of my twice-yearly black metal binges, which came at an odd time considering that the outside temperature has rarely failed to reach one hundred degrees as of late; black metal is, after all, a genre that people listen to and immediately associate with snowy wastelands and howling blizzards. But rather than deny this craving (as I had previously been listening to mostly power metal, a rather sunny genre) I chose to embrace it; perhaps the somber, chilling atmosphere of Blut Aus Nord or early Emperor would help stave off this sweltering heat. But one band I’ve found myself continuously returning to in these past few days is Taake, a band that I’ve neglected to listen to for at least six months. With their varying tempos, creative riffs and song structures, and surprising grasp on melody, these Norwegian veterans have captured my attention like they never have before, especially with this, their second album, Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik. Catchier and better produced than Taake’s debut, this album is without a doubt my favorite of theirs, and a sure candidate for classic status if it were only a couple of years older.

Like on all Taake albums (except for their self-titled one), the album is split up into seven parts that are each labeled with Roman numerals (I, II, etc.). This lends in giving one a sense that …Bjoergvin… is one long, divided track, but what also helps in this is the fact that the songs all share common traits; though each track is discernibly different from the next, at the same time each one expresses various tempo changes and emotions that range from anger to sadness and beyond. …Bjoergvin… is a concept album about death, and though I don’t understand the Norwegian lyrics, the emotional landscape, as I mentioned before, manages to express all the hurt and frustration one has when dealing with death, whether it be that of a loved one or of their own inevitable demise.

There are some truly sad moments here, moments that really capture one’s attention whenever they occur; in VI for example, there are a few moments where intensity gives way for solemnity, showcasing a somber acoustic or piano bit before delving back into blast beats and tremolo riffs. In the album’s closing song, VII, Taake abandons all intensity in favor of melancholic atmosphere, with samples of rain and rustling leaves cropping up in the presence of slow-paced drums and jangling, blackened, melodic riffs, as well as soft choirs that never fail in giving me goosebumps.

But not all is doom ‘n’ gloom in the land of Taake; many moments throughout the album are surprisingly bouncy, such as the double-time drumming and up-down-up-down chord progression featured on I and the crunchy, string-bending riffs of V. Like many black metal bands, Taake specializes in tremolo riffs, though the ones featured here are typically catchier than they are grim. Taake is certainly more technical than your average black metal band, however; many riffs and tempo changes are wonderfully complex, but they never distract from the overall experience. The members of Taake are each incredibly talented, and the band is a master of the genre.

It’s rare that I can actually sit through a black metal album in its entirety (and several times a day, at that), but Taake’s albums, especially this one, are rare examples where this isn’t a difficult feat; in fact, it’s a joy. When done right, black metal can be absolutely captivating, and this is certainly the case here; …Bjoergvin… is one record that is really difficult to stop listening to once it starts, and one that I keep returning to because of how well put together it is. Most black metal fans have likely heard this before and love it as much as I do, but in case you have yet to experience Taake, then this album is an absolute must-purchase. A black metal masterpiece, nothing less.

Killing Songs :
Kyle quoted 93 / 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 - Nattestid Ser Porten Vid reviewed by James and quoted 90 / 100
Taake - Taake reviewed by Charles and quoted 72 / 100
Taake - Hordaland Doedskvad reviewed by Daniel and quoted 96 / 100
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