Many people think that great black metal can longer be found in Norway. The golden age of the 90's is over, and bands like Mayhem and Enslaved are off experimenting with their clean vocals and while that's fine and dandy, some fans miss the extreme music those bands once delved into. Even landmark groups such as Emperor and Khold have all but disbanded for other extreme pastures. Thank Satan then that we have Taake, a band who plays the classic style of black metal that brought the genre into the limelight in the first place. Melodically chaotic , the bands 3rd full length Hordalands Doedskvad
explores uncharted territory, taking stances in both melodic (yet not symphonic) and harsh black metal.
The album opens brutally with Hordalands Doedskvad, Part 1
, kicking right into extreme blast beats and razor sharp guitars. There's a chant of "HEY" to get the blood pumping and we get into the verse which switches over to be surprising melodic. Tremolo picked a fast, the verse plays a series of beautiful melodies, behind the rasp of lead vocalist Hoest. His voice is everything you would think it to be, raspy, phlegmy, and high pitched. The song continues into this fashion until about two minutes in, where it takes a turn onto a more Darkthrone influenced road. Blast beats return and the guitars go in every direction. Theres a brief solo, more of the same verse and then we get back to a slower, more tuneful passage. There's clean interlude, and then a fierce growl by the singer, combining death and black metal vocals. The guitars during this are very similar to that of band like Enslaved or Immortal during their earlier phases. The song ends with a neo-classical styled tremolo solo. Hordalands Doedskvad, Part 2
starts out with a riff straight from the Bay Area thrash scene of the 80's. After its initial entrance it turns into a riff that sounds like the Empires theme song from Star Wars strangely enough. The song transforms into straight black metal with atmospheric guitaring and rapid double bass drumming. This song riff-wise never ceases to amaze, with so many different guitar lines, all more enjoyable then the last.
Hordalands Doedskvad, Part 3
begins with Mayhem influenced guitar picked line but then transforms into super melodic tremolo picking and of course blast beats. While not very original, the drumming on this CD is executed very well, and all the rolls and fills fit in perfectly. The guitar on this song, although not very technical, creates a very epic feeling and honestly makes you think about traveling over ice-capped mountains and slaying orcs. Hordalands Doedskvad, Part 4
is another number that starts out very thrashy, but quickly turns into raw black metal. This song is the single most influenced from bands like Darkthrone or Thorns. It has great dissonant droning parts, and the drumming while mid-paced fits the song very well.
Hordalands Doedskvad, Part 5
could of been a song off of Ulver's great Nattens Madrigal
(except with way way way better production) . The riffs are sharp and dissonant while still clinging on to some melody. Hordalands Doedskvad, Part 6
is a very experimental song, which has thumping anthemic parts, straight black metal parts and even some old school influenced parts. It's wholly instrumental, but never gets boring due to the all the tempo changes and variation in riffs. Final song Hordalands Doedskvad, Part 7
starts with a very technical thrash riff, but then regresses into the most basic forms of black metal. The song continues, switching from harsh to melody.
If you are an avid black metal collector, Hordalands Doedskvad
is the album to OWN. It steps one foot into melodic black metal and the other in super harsh, brutal black metal. They even did the favor of providing a great production so every melodic lead, or hit of the snare is perfectly deciphered. Taake is black metal at it's finest and this album is undoubtedly the best, that the best have to offer.