Album Review: TAAKE Et Hav av Avstand

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Taake‘s sound is unmistakable. As cold and harsh as the most brutal Nordic winter, Taake is one of those black metal bands who never really changed their sound. While the band has, at times, embraced some elements of black ‘n roll at times in their catalog, Taake has really more firmly grasped their early roots.

Et Hav av Avstad (which translates to “A Sea of Distance”) is the eighth full-length studio record. It’s comprised of only four songs but they clock in at a combined 42 minutes. Taake mainman Hoest plays all the instruments on the record and also handles all the vocals.

There are lots of guitars on this record and to really appreciate everything Hoest has going on with all of them I’d recommend that you listen with headphones. I’ve found it to be an entirely different listening experience myself with the headphones on such that I can really get every little nuance and sound that Hoest has meticulously put in there.

The first track, “Denna Forblaaste Ruin av en Bro (tr: Blown Away Bridge Ruins)” is actually a bit proggy with lots of time changes and abrupt surprises. Each section of the song is quite different from one another, making it feel like the track is really more like a series of movements than one individual song. The second track, “Utarmede Gruver (Depleted Mines)” is slightly more melodic and signature Taake in terms of the sonics. This one could easily be on the first three Taake records. At the same time, it’s still fresh and original.

“Et Uhyre av en Kniv (A Monster of a Knife)” is the single that was released last June. This particular cut sounds a bit more like Taake‘s more recent work in terms of the tremolo and drums. If you’re a fan of the songs on Kong Vinter or Stridens Hus, you’ll likely really love this song. Same with “Gid Sprakk Vi,” which is the shortest song on the record at just over six minutes.

In typical Taake fashion, the record is very much a lo-fi recording. It’s rough, raw and unfiltered, kind of like the man himself. Of course, we would expect nothing less. In this respect, Taake has always been distinctly black metal and distinctly Norwegian.

If you’re already a fan of Taake, there’s no doubt you’re going to love this record. If you’re a fan of the really early Taake, then you’ll especially love this record. If you’ve never checked out Taake and you don’t mind your lyrics in Norwegian, Et Hav av Avastad might very well be a good starting point.

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