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Taake - "Noregs Vaapen" (CD)

Taake - "Noregs Vaapen" CD cover image

"Noregs Vaapen" track listing:

1. Fra vadested til vaandesmed
2. Orkan
3. Nordbundet
4. Du ville ville Vestland
5. Myr
6. Helvetesmakt
7. Dei vil alltid klaga og kyta

Reviewed by on October 28, 2011

"The old-forest, shadowy atmosphere persists, but that won’t scare off the Appalachian moon ‘shiners from having their biker bon fires."

Eighteen years after forming, Taake has stayed true to the group’s Norwegian black metal roots. Although not as recognized as Darkthrone, Satyricon and Immortal, Taake is as true in their convictions and style as any of the early '90s Scandinavian bands one will see on an American stage. Underground black metal hoarders know the name well, though. The sole creation of Hoest, Taake’s latest Norse-tongued offering “Noregs Vaapen” stays true to the sound that erupted from the early '90s, but includes later black-n-roll movements and unexpected experimentations.

Newcomers to Taake will marvel in the trueness of their sound. This fact occurs not only because Taake helped compact the trail constructed by those above, but also because some of these artists actually appear on “Noregs Vaapen.” “Fra Vadested Til Vaandesmed” not only works on the same level as a Darkthrone song, but features guest vocals by Darkthrone shrieker Nocturno Culto. Multi-farious choruses strike ominous notes, leaving the feeling of having heard a supernatural roar echo deep in a forest.

Speaking of multiple vocal approaches, the shape-shifting vocals of Mayhem frontman Attila Csihar draw an abysmal contrast to Hoest’s standard throat shreddings on “Nordbundet.” One half of the Immortal brothers, Demonaz Doom Occulta, adds more of a standardized vocal approach for his momentary visitation on the following track, “Du Ville Ville Vestland.” Other noted appearances include members of Amok, Deathcult, Infernal Manes, Gaahlskagg, Aeternus, Helheim and others.

Taake means “fog” in Norwegian, which aptly describes much of the atmosphere on “Noregs Vaapen.” “Fra Vadested Til Vaandesmed” opens the album with sub-zero vaporizing tremolo-picked rhythms. The bass adds to this foggy ambiance, lying obscured in the mix like a fog horn denoting a path for mariners. Hoest further develops this ambience by transferring the song’s rhythmic theme into ghostly mellotron notes.

Unlike some black metal groups who either go full-on black-n-roll or straight up bleak-and-blasting, Hoest finds a good balance with this record. Finding the end of a ten-plus-minute track such as “Dei Vil Alltid Klaga Og Kyta” could prove difficult, but Hoest changes the tone and pace enough to keep attentions focused. “Orkan” features a couple of halts in action, but it’s mostly bombs away on this fast-paced track. “Du Ville Ville Vestland” will get the crowd chanting “hey” with a big, arena rock section, while “Myr” wins the prize for most surprising instrument—a knee-slapping, toe-tapping banjo.

The Scandinavian black metal sound is worn out to the point that its innovators have opted for other styles with mediocre to poor results. With “Noregs Vaapen,” Taake instigates an orgy of black metal and rock, combining the classic second-wave black metal sound and the black-n-roll sound popularized by fellow countrymen such as Turbonegro. The old-forest, shadowy atmosphere persists, but that won’t scare off the Appalachian moon ‘shiners from having their biker bon fires.

Highs: "Noregs Vaapen" exemplifies Norwegian black metal, but adds other elements to seperate Taake from a style that has become cliche.

Lows: The guest appearances aren't as exciting as the idea on paper.

Bottom line: "Noregs Vaapen" is a solid album that should appease the ravenous black metal hordes.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)