Taake. How do I even sum up Taake to a reader who isn’t familiar? Taake (old Norwegian for ‘fog’), is led by a man who calls himself Hoest who has spent his career collectively flipping the bird to black metal elitism and convention (black metal banjo solo anyone?), and this latest release Stridens Hus (out Feb 5, on Candlelight) is no exception to this rule.
Metal forums anywhere online will inevitably be filled to the brim of the mead horn with jackasses ranting about tr00 and kvlt, and have a fan base that tends to quail against the thought of anything new entering the often narrow view of black metal. Oh it doesn’t sound like Blaze in the Northern Sky (I almost wrote ..suburbs, thanks King Parrot)? It doesn’t sound like Burzum? Ah fuck it, it’s not tr00 and grim, it’s not metal. How many times have I seen really amazing black metal bands, like Wolves in the Throne Room be dismissed, (oh there’s a broad singing.. not metal) and it’s seriously DUMB. That’s right, I said it.
If you come to Stridens Hus looking for an album that sounds like Burzum, or Mayhem, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Gamle Norig is the opener, and though it opens with some pretty blistering black metal, it fades into a song that is downright catchy sounding, if black metal can be described as catchy. Orm is creepy sounding, sinister and has a very driving lead guitar line that again has this catchy feeling to it that is almost melodic. Make no bones of it, the vocals of Stidens Hus are powerful, Hoest did not hold back, and this is true through to Det fins en Prins, the third track. His screaming and wailing is downright animalistic sounding, tortured and this track really stands out to me on this album. Det fins en Prins clocks in at just over eight minutes long and goes from some pretty intense black metal, through to a break down of some yelling, through to a little bit of spoken word (it could be a guy reading his grocery list or being spooky as hell, I don’t know). Stank is a really intense song complete with guitar solo, but again, is almost more hard rock than straight black metal. I do not say this in a bad way. This album has a lot to offer in terms of metal that isn’t playing by anyone but Hoest’s rules. En Sang til Sand om Illdebrann and Kongsgaard bestaar finish up the album. Kongsgard bestaar has some pretty strange growling and howling but overall I enjoyed the whole thing.
On the whole, Stridens Hus is not the metal album for a listener with their head (and thus their ear holes) stuck firmly up their own ass. I appreciate that Hoest is pushing his boundaries musically and in through genre.
Black metal is supposed to be about not following a rule or a standard, and is supposed to be extreme, brutal and often fear inspiring. In this manner, Stridens Hus is a perfect record and perfect for the listener who wants a little bit more to their black metal than the same old song and dance.
drunkinagraveyard.com wishes to thank Candlelight records and their PR Paula for offering us the chance to review this album, it is much appreciated.
–You can find Robin tuning her black metal banjo on Twitter