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Taake - Stridens Hus Award winner

Stridens Hus
by Daniel Fox at 24 November 2014, 9:34 PM

If there is a long-standing Black Metal one-man band that has stood the test of time and stuck to their musical origins, it is TAAKE. Surprisingly, all of the material is written and recorded solely by Hoest. 2014 sees the release of “Stridens Hus”, the band’s 6th full-length album, and a follow-up to 2011’s “Noregs Vaapen”; arguably his best work since “Hordalands Doedskvad”, one of my favourite Black Metal albums of all time.

Let us begin.

A smile etched on my face as “Gamle Norig” began to break out into the main riffs. It has always baffled me how bands such as TAAKE and KHOLD manage to create truly massive-sounding Black Metal, with the simplest-possible renditions of raw studio instruments. There is a rumbling drive beneath this track; a destructive hurricane, as opposed to rip-roaring tornadoes of tracks such as “Kongsgaard Bestaar”. Hoest’s vocals sound better than ever, his screams resonating true and strong above the abyss, wherein other band’s vocalist would barely find breathable air above the mix. Sufficed to say I was rather surprised and perplexed come “Orm”, an interesting, seeming take on Death ‘n’ Roll, with upbeat, mid-tempo Rock riffs, clad in unmistakably-Norwegian Blackened garb. Perhaps one of my favourites on the record, for being the such a strange recording. Nevertheless, the grim marching of Black Metal riffs crept back, threaded with melodiously and melancholic guitar lines.

“En Sang til Sand om Ildebrann” is another standout piece. An instrumental, it is arranged with copious amounts of Progressive, jarring, winding riff mastery to bend the listener’s ear. Frigid, frantic Black Metal one moment, crushing, grim Rock riffs the next, but breathing life into it are the subtly intricate drum patterns. This track’s greatest strengths are in the dynamics of its atmosphere; it is seemingly ever-changing, made up of many, shorter, individual passages. About halfway through, a few of the corners in this winding maze were literally eye-opening, warmly reminded of classic AMORPHIS in the creative guitar lines. Hoest is seriously a talented man. I would regard, as I mentioned previously, “Kongsgaard bestarr” as being the fastest track on the album; indeed, for a great amount of airtime at least, it is a wall of hyperspeed Black Metal. However, it is thoughtfully pockmarked with many, slow dirges; some interwoven with beautiful, cleaner-sounding guitars, and others, some crushing Doom moments.

TAAKE is a Black Metal band that I hope stays around for a while; a feat, considering how short-lived so many of the bands are in the scene are, unfortunate as that is. “Stridens Hus” is a testament to that.

5 Star Rating

1. Gamle Norig
2. Orm
3. Det fins en Prins
4. Stank
5. En Sang til Sand om Ildebrann
6. Kongsgaard bestaar
7. Vinger
Hoest - All Instruments
Record Label: Dark Essence Records


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