Taake - Noregs Vaapen
Candlelight Records
Black Metal
7 songs (46'48")
Release year: 2011
Taake, Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Alex

If you feel that controversy must accompany every “true” black metal band, Taake is at least in competition for taking that cake. From infamous photos with loose hanging parts to the swastika incident in Essen to the recent incarceration of the mastermind Hoest, Taake has done its fair share. Controversy or not, this band, which was not a part of classic flagship 90s, has become a reliable torchbearer for the genre. Every three years or so, the run-ins with Norwegian legal system be damned, Hoest puts out another Taake album, a consistent black metal output with unswerving devotion to the genre basics.

A lot of Noregs Vaapen breathes and feels Taake, yet there are subtle new wrinkles. The by-now traditional seven tracks (symbolizing the seven hills of Bergen) and the album cover with Hoest showing himself off narcissistically once again are here. The unmistakable Taake riffs open Fra vadested til vaandesmed and Myr. Longing, folky, supported by pained cutting rasps, staring you in the face desperately, they raise the curtain of a man’s soul laying it all out and bare, whether they are simplistic or not. At the same time, Noregs Vaapen does not have the immediate catchiness of the “trilogy” which came before it, with songs having a lot of shifting and moving parts. If some songs like Fra vadested til vaandesmed have definitive parts and circle-based structure, then Myr continues its evolution throughout. This newfound variability adds to the intrigue and requires the album to be listened to more attentively. Hoest’s knack for songwriting impresses, even if pieces are sometimes loosely butt-ended together, just witness throwing the coolest banjo/mandolin solo at you amidst the preceding dirge in Myr. In Noregs Vaapen the seemingly non-fitting parts always find their way to congruency and actually serve as shakeup to the often hypnotic drum blasting/simultaneous guitar chords rhythms. The unexpected pauses and slowdowns (Orkan) or changes from despondent to nasty (closer Dei vil alltid klaga og kyta) serve as counterbalance to the songs often slipping into reverberating hypnotic realm, your head bobbing off in blackened foggy funk. Often melodic, the echoing melodies ever present in the blasting of Helvetesmakt, Hoest even manages to be progressive at times, if such term can be loosely applied to the multiple riffs and rhythm twists of Du ville ville Vestland.

Aided by guesting of Nocturno Culto and Attila Csihar, Hoest also allows himself a quick experimentation with a female funeral announcing voice in Myr and clear backing vocals breathing dementia in Helvetesmakt. With all of these new parts, it actually does help that Noregs Vaapen production is clearer and crispier than what we have come to expect from Taake. In no way diminishing the underground impact, this cleaner approach only helps to highlight the finer details the album brings to bear.

The caged animal inside of Taake is still untamed and looking to escape. At times the look inside those eyes hurts and dismays (Fra vadested til vaandesmed, Orkan), but often the beast escapes proudly spreading its claws (Nordbundet), sowing malice and spite even if the manner of this prowl is not always flowing and smooth.

Killing Songs :
Fra vadested til vaandesmed, Myr, Helvetesmakt
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Taake that we have reviewed:
Taake - Stridens Hus reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 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
Taake - Hordaland Doedskvad reviewed by Daniel and quoted 96 / 100
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