Taake - Et Hav av Avstand
Dark Essence Records
Black Metal
4 songs (42:16)
Release year: 2023
Taake, Dark Essence Records
Reviewed by Goat

There's something refreshing about reviewing an album devoid of gimmicks, that wears its heart on its sleeve and seeks only to please those that already know that they will enjoy it. And such is the latest missive from true Norwegian black metal project Taake, here presenting four songs, three of which are over ten minutes long. This is black metal in its purest and most direct form, particularly for Hoest, Taake's mastermind and sole studio member, a man previously known for his leftfield tricks and distractions such as banjo solos and swastikas. Perhaps the ultimate trick here, then, is in the lack of them? Whatever opinions held on Taake and previous antics, the quality of Hoest's compositions is surely a commonly-held fervent belief, and the trickily-titled Et Hav av Avstand ('a sea of distance') contains nothing but superb black metal, passionately played and creatively arranged with a genuine progressive mindset to create something quite special from the building blocks of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

Opener Denne forblaaste Ruin av en Bro ('this weathered ruin of a bridge') has a curiously melancholic yet defiant tone, waves of melodic riffs topped by Hoest's snarl, soon moving through groovier pastures like Darkthrone at their most gripping, switching back to the more melancholic melodies later in the near-twelve minute piece. It's a hungry, attention-grabbing piece of black metal even at that length, and the following Utarmede Gruver ('depleted mines') follows near-seamlessly in its footprints. Both pieces aren't afraid to slow tempos, change things up, or even throw odd little samples in, the overall effect on the listener being disorienting but not seeming maliciously so. Utarmede especially approaches an intense, piledriving nightmare by the end, twisting and turning riffs leading you down a dark alley.

Yet as ever with the best black metal, it's the sheer range of the shades of black hidden away beneath the surface that really fascinates. The more you listen, the more you hear; initially relatively short six minute Gid sprakk Vi ('good we cracked'?) seems something of a blasting and simplistic interlude, yet with time the sheer hypnotic quality becomes plain, not to mention the icy cold atmosphere or the way the drums dance atop the riffs. And thirteen minute finale Et Uhyre av en Kniv ('a monster of a knife') returns to the melancholic vibe of the opener, moving from atmospheric black riffing through folky and progressive terrain before ending in droning feedback and ambience, keeping your attention firmly every step of the way.

Overall it's a beyond solid album, much more cohesive than, say, Stridens Hus if not quite up to the classic first couple of releases. Still, nearly thirty years after forming, Taake can still impress with sheer quality even in a busy black metal scene, and that Hoest still has albums this good left in him is a delight for fans.

Killing Songs :
All, especially Et Ehyre av en Kniv
Goat quoted 85 / 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 - Nattestid Ser Porten Vid reviewed by James and quoted 90 / 100
Taake - Taake reviewed by Charles and quoted 72 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Feb 03, 2024 1:26 am
View and Post comments