The pressures of being in a Black Metal band in the present musical environment must be immense. On one hand, you have every baggy panted, eyeliner laden, pseudo-goth child in the world clamoring for whatever your next release may be. On the other hand, you have the ultra Black Metal elitists, who are just waiting for you to indulge in the tastes of the mainstream crop, ready to criticize any slight misstep you may take. Luckily none of this applies to the Norweigian based band Taake. The band follows their heart, never giving into any outside pressure set against them, and with a confident blend of melody and ferocity, the Bergen quintet never cease to impress on their sophomore effort Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik
Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik Pt. 1
starts full steam, with blazing melodic tremolo picked guitar and quick accurate blastbeats. The Black Metal onslaught gets interrupted however by a brief classical piano interlude, which soon becomes the core melody of the song. When the other instruments are put into play again, the guitar intersperses between playing it's own melody and harmonizing with the piano line, creating many unique and interesting twists and turns. The piano fades out, leading back into the pure Black Metal music of the beginning of the song, until it comes to a clean vocal interlude. Majority of the time, the clean vocals in Black Metal are more than cringe worthy, but Hoest's tuneful bellow perfectly compliments the song and helps it bridge the gap successfully from classic Black Metal to a more Bay Area Thrash- influenced palm muted riff. The song ends with a start/stop open powerchord riff mixed with atmospheric keyboards in the background. Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik Pt. 2
opens with a thunderous drum roll that leads into more tremolo guitars and quick double bass pedal lead drums. Now, one might see having tremolo picking in every song tiring and repetetive, and for the most other bands, this tends to be the case. In the case of Taake however, guitarist C. Corax manages to weave such beautiful and enticing melodies, that in the matter of which they are played never becomes an issue, even if the majority of it is in one style. The structure of Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik Pt. 2
strictly adheres to the style 90's Black Metal (perhaps with a touch more harmony), a refreshing throw back to the classics of the genre.
Sadly Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik Pt. 3
doesnt live up to the standards of the previous songs and comes of as no more than a filler track. There's a slight glimpse of hope for the song during a clean guitar interlude, but ultimately this is ruined, by the unexpected and unwelcome sound of a spring. Thats right, the sound of a coiled metal wire spring. Why the band chose to include this is a mystery, for all it does is call in to question the overall seriousness of the song. While the album itself for the most part is highly influenced by Viking Metal, Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik Pt. 4
is probably the most inspired by that Black Metal sub-genre. The guitar line gives off a very Nordic vibe and the song takes you back to the icy shores of Norway back when it was a raw, undeveloped country, ready to be taken by Viking pillagers. One thing very noticeable about this song, is the prominence of the bass guitar. Usually within Black Metal the bass is unheard and barely audible, but Taake make full use of it, allowing it seperate itself from the guitars and create its own path. Towards the end of the song, the band incorporates some great keyboard leads, very unusual for them, but it works wonderfully for the music, creating another layer of epic instrumentation majesty.
Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik Pt. 5
begins with epic, atmospheric guitars that once again create stunning, original melodies, that have the ability to stay in ones head for days. Hoest's voice is also a thing of wonder, for it contains all the qualities for a perfect Black Metal vocalist. His voice is high and raspy, but also has the ability to hit the low death grunts, perfect for layering, and creating great dynamics vocally. About midway through the song, it goes from fast and catchy, to a more mid tempo, Darkthrone influenced song. The guitars have an obvious Nocturno Culto influence, as they might as well have been lifted from the great Transilvanian Hunger
itself. Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik
begins with a slow, finger picked clean guitar introduction, but at the hit of a snare, becomes a Neo-Classical influenced song. Like in previous song Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik Pt 1
theres a piano interlude, that totally takes the focus of the song and has everything else revolve around it. Closing song Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik
is an instrumental song, that allows the band to really show off their softer side, as it is essentially a Black Metal ballad. Even with no words spoken, the instrumentation is played in such a manner, your heart practically breaks while listening to it.
So if it's mainstream Black Metal or even raw, underground Black Metal that's your preference, Taake's Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik
is most definitely something to be listened too. From the vocals to the guitars, the album reeks of class, something rarely seen with the Black Metal genre as of late. To any dedicated extreme metal listeners, this is something to not be skipped over, but rather, revered and cherished, as it may just be that favorite album you were looking for.