This is beauty, pure and simple. Rarely are we greeted with such new material as epic and sweeping as what TAAKE have come to offer us. “…Doedskvad” is the final release in Hoest’s trilogy in which every album has successively progressed, culminating with this final release. Those who claim the glory days of Norway are over just received a clenched fist down the throat accompanied with a harsh scream.
It is quite hard to believe a release with such clean sound could prove so lethal. The guitars are distorted with minimal fuzz, the drums refrain from muddling in the mix and the bass can actually be picked out. There are screeching leads, epic melodies, thundering drums, but most importantly; mind-blowing riffs. The aural journey that is “…Doedskvad” is grand in a way that has not been experienced since BATHORY’s early days.
The release proves so infectious and unrelenting due to the stark contrast of seething anger melded with instrumentation that goes well beyond catchy. Hoest’s vocals are unique and identifiable as always possessing that over-the-top emotion tinged snarl which is the main driving force behind this album’s ferocity. His snarl sounds slightly influenced by Meyhna’ch’s early work yet infuses it with a sense of singularity making it his own. The guitar-tone is the second factor forming the foundation of hate, as the unorthodox sound slices through the air like a well-sharpened knife, rather than the rusty jagged blade we are often greeted with in the raw spectrum. The melodies flowing from the strings are jaw-dropping. For a genre not normally known for placing emphasis on riffery, this is truly a welcome punch to the gut.
Hoest seems to be experimenting here a bit without going over the top and manages to add a new touch of originality to the compositions. For instance, listen to that clean guitar melody that breaks out halfway through “…Doedskvad I”, utterly chilling as well as refreshing. He also seems to utilize the sampling of a low bell clanging near the beginning of the second composition. This surprisingly works well and does not detract from the song like the annoying “boing” found on “Bjoergvin”. TAAKE also shows the stranglehold on tempo they have maintained as we experience everything from doomish, slow paced riffing, to lightning fast skull-crushing leads. This truly is the height of this bands creativity and intellectual writing thus far.
All the lyrics escaping Hoest’s lips are uttered in his native tongue. This definitely sets a sombre tone for the album and injects the compositions with a sense of mystery. The booklet consists of being inscribed solely in runes and furthers the organic atmosphere of this release. It is nice to see someone not give a fuck and stick to their heritage rather than altering oneself to please a majority. This is, in combination with the dreadful compositions, are why TAAKE/Hoest is the future of Norway and perhaps Black Metal as a whole.
“…Doedskvad III” and “VI” are the two standout tracks, although I was hard-pressed to pick only two from this excellent work. The former of the compositions features the best lead work on the album and possesses an epic main riff which rivals the best notes written in this genre. It also hosts several interesting time changes and proves an eviscerating journey. “VI” is a solid cut throughout and doesn’t truly shine till . You hear that riff? That is the Mona Lisa put to music. That is all the blood spilled throughout mankind rolled into sound. That is Black Metal the way Black Metal should be written.
Hoest is gold, a contemporary musical genius who will force people to soon forget about Mr. Vikernes. If he attempted to write filler he would come up with the Black Metal “Paranoid”. Judging by the work he has done with TAAKE, I would be keeping a close eye on RAGNAROK and their future releases if he is involved in the songwriting in the least. This is the best Black Metal band today and I am sure this will prove the strongest release of ’05 once the dust has settled. Relive the glory days. (Online May 30, 2005)