TAAKE – ‘Kong Vinter’ Album Review & Stream

(By Brian Halsey, Staff Writer, RiffRelevant.com)

When the air is cold, and the trees are barren, I walk out into the woods naked and howl at the moon.  I become one with the darkness and pray to fucking Odin that Taake is finally ready to release a new album.   

This year it all paid off, my neighbors finally stopped calling the police, and Taake is back, with not only the best heavy album of the year, but a game changer in terms of what can be achieved with one man and a Norwegian studio.  

Ørjan Stedjeberg, aka Hoest, aka the recording mastermind behind TAAKE, reminds second wave black metal fans what this genre is supposed to sting like.  ‘Kong Vinter’, released just yesterday on November 24th, delivers a punishing mix of classic black metal, black ‘n roll, and minor hints of folk instrumentation arrangements.  It does everything you need it to do, in that it represents the ugly, oppressive, grittiness of the scene, but at the same time deviates off the beaten path just enough to avoid the trap of redundancy. 

Norway’s Taake has been floating around the top of their genre for quite some time, but ‘Kong Vinter’ sees the band realize their full potential.  It’s really something you have to hear for yourself to gain a true appreciation.  To anyone unfamiliar with the band, I’d categorize them in the realm of Satyricon and Behemoth, but that’s really just an effort to draw comparisons with something recognizable.  

The songs flow from angry, raw, and vocally driven, to raging soundscapes filled with chaotic tempo changes and experimentation with various harmonies.  For what it’s worth, the band has pulled this off for quite some time, and they’re only getting better at it. 

There’s no need to pinpoint a specific song, because they all exude the characteristics necessary to portray greatness.  Right now, my favorites would be ‘Sverdets Vei’, ‘Huset I Havet’, and ‘Havet I Huset’.  I’m not gonna lie, I pre-ordered this album because Taake fucking shreds and they are by far my favorite cold winter listen.  I didn’t bother to hit up Google translate yet, because I’m too busy rocking out to this masterpiece, but I’m pretty sure it was produced in Conclave Studio and mixed in Earshot Studio (feel free to call me out if I deciphered that incorrectly).

Taake’s menacing sound has never been more on fire or more relevant.  In a day and age where art is being held to the torch of political correctness, it’s refreshing to see a band still willing to tell everyone in their path to fuck off.  Not because Taake is a political band with any specific agenda, but because they are a black metal band.  The whole point is to make you feel uncomfortable and squirm a little bit.  I’m still writhing.  

Kings of Norwegian Metal, Kings of Winter.  Listen to TAAKE.

Kong Vinter – Track Listing:

1. Sverdets Vei
2. Inntrenger
3. Huset i Havet
4. Havet i Huset
5. Jernhaand
6. Maanebrent
7. Fra Bjoergegrend mot Glemselen

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