Review Summary: Initially quite a shocking departure from his earlier work, this album will grow on you if you let it.
Before even playing the new, self-titled, Taake album one will notice a difference: song titles! After Hoest's first three unnamed song albums, album number four features seven songs with titles. And the differences do not stop there. After sole Taake member, Hoest opens the album with his familiar Norwegian tongued rasp, several changes become apparent: the guitars are fuzzier, the arrangements and time signatures are simplified, and the production has been muddied up.
Those hoping for a continuation of Taake's near-flawless Hordalands Doedskvad
will be rather disappointed as Hoest has chosen a much different approach on Taake
. After a raging 2 minutes of classic Norwegian Black Metal fury, opening track "Atternatt" slows down to a plodding 6/8 ebb that continues for the rest of the track's near 7-minute duration. This sets a trend for most of the album - long slow passages interspersed with moments of punk-tinged black metal rage.
Taake definitely sounds more crust punk inspired than ever before, bringing to mind Hoest's buddies in Carpathian Forest's work. Though the progressive moments are still there, they are much fewer. Hoest is still obviously influenced by Enslaved as well, but the influence is now more Eld
-era Enslaved rather than the more recent works.
Taake's fourth effort is a slow burn and far from the instant gratification of his previous two albums. That being said, after multiple listens and a moment to overcome the shift in direction, this self-titled effort is really quite enjoyable. The opening 2 and a half minutes of "Umenneske" are probably the strongest of the entire album calling to mind classic-era Taake with a crust punk twist before settling into an extended ambient black metal passage that erupts into a fist banging riff of epic proportions. The closing moments of "Motpol" showcase tender and sorrowful chords with a rather straightforward yet painfully melancholic lead break. And the album's strongest overall track, "September Omsider," easies into a slow 6/8 sludge that gives way to an undeniably infectious rock-and-roll groove at 3:50 into the song.
Hoest's vocals continue without much change in them - he still sounds like a creepy old man who's been trapped in the basement for years. And as always, the entire album is in Norwegian - making lyric analysis rather challenging. Musically, Hoest continues to impress with his ability to play guitar, bass, and drums. His guitar and bass skills are top notch, and his drumming is adequate, though not exactly stellar. Ultimately, one would not be able to tell Taake is a one man band in the studio.
Taake's Nekro EP
was obviously a hint at what Hoest was planning for his fourth release. Though this album does not measure up to the strength of his previous work, it is still a worthy release that fans will accept once they work through the initial shock and disappointment in the change of styles. For those unfamiliar with Taake - if you like your black metal a little slow and a little punky, then this should more than fit the bill.