In the early 1990’s, when the great second wave of black metal was reaching the first of many creative peaks, Norway seemed to spawn corpse paint clad outfits like rabbits giving birth. While many of those acts faded away as quickly as they came, and others would reach their own personal zeniths before fading into oblivion, some acts still remain to this day. More importantly some of those acts are still releasing blasphemous outbursts fit for any set of ears willing to turn away from whatever god they worship, if even for a only a few moments.
Founded in 1993, Taake have long established themselves as one of the more reliable (and at times controversial) bands on the black metal circuit today, both in the quantity and quality of their work. Their most recent endeavor, Stridens Hus, is another in what is becoming a long line of exceptional releases, and a work that promises the potential to stand as one of the best black metal albums of the coming year. If there was a vortex between cataclysmic and ethereal this albums would exist there in a vacuum, continually drawing power from both realms. Taake’s ability to take sonic mayhem into a realm of unnerving ambiance is one of their finest qualities and this album once again delivers a powerful vision.
To say that Taake are a project that is true to its roots would be a bit of an understatement. While, every Taake album has taken traditional Norwegian black metal on a joy ride through various other genres, picking up the occasional musical hitchhiker along the way, the ultimate essence of Taake is a soul-searing take on an unmistakable sound. Stridens Hus is no different in this regard. While tracks like album opener, “Gamle Norig” are an impious, frost-bitten hell raising, there exist moments throughout the album which draw from a wide array of outside influences – traditional metal, crust punk, and various elements of good, old fashioned rock. Take for example the rhythmic guitar riff riding through the middle of “En Sang til Sand om Ildebrann” like something out of a 70’s biker film or the wild guitar play at the beginning of and throughout the track “Vinegar” that sounds like something birthed during the NWOBHM movement. It’s these unpredictable and riotous elements that take the Taake sound, and this album, to the level of the corybantic.
Originally released in Europe at the end of 2014, Stridens Hus will be delivered to North American audiences on February 10 through Candlelight Records. You can experience the track “Orm” at the Candlelight Records Bandcamp Page.