"Noregs Vaapen"

By Lord Randall

Given TAAKE and Hoest's penchant for instability both in matters of lineup and controversy, it becomes slightly difficult to comprehend how both have delivered quality albums time and again. Released 3 years after the band's most recent self-titled journey through the black, "Noregs Vaapen" finds Hoest handling all instruments and vocals himself, resulting in the most "TAAKE" album of all. In a way, it's the clearest insight into Hoest's goals for his project, yet in another, fail or fly, all responsibility rests on his shoulders alone.

Opener ‘Fra Vadested Til Vaandesmed’ swings and sways with all the power of a mace, the heft of a single-bladed axe, melodic leads providing a deceptively harmonious undertone to the bile’n’roll of "Noregs Vaapen" thus far. Taking a page from the book of DODSFERD’s latest ("Spitting With Hatred The Insignificance Of Life"), ‘Nordbundet’ slows the album to a slithering crawl more akin to SABBATH than SARCOFAGO, the mix utterly smothering in the best of ways, losing none of the passion for which TAAKE is known in the process. Centerpiece ‘Du Ville Ville Vestland’ settles into a mid-paced groove (Yes. Groove. I said it.) early on, then spends the rest of the tune alternating between headbang-worthy riff-o-rama and what could only be called blackened power metal. A militant cadence kicks off ‘Helvetesmakt’, yet this too falls into a sonic chasm, and with only one tune left on "Noregs Vaapen", BM “purists” may find themselves wishing for more speed, more hyperdemonic blasts. For myself, the faux-choral backing and keyboard work halfway through snapped me out of potential boredom and back into the song proper.

 Leaving a bit up to the imagination and to the surprise factor, I’ll only say this about the 10+ minute finale ‘Dei Vil Alltid Klaga Og Kyta’; if you’ve been aching for more speed, it’s here. More experimental…experiments? You won’t leave unfulfilled.

"Noregs Vaapen" then reveals itself to be exactly what longtime fans would expect – an album of quality black metal that takes no prisoners, yet gives them the time to watch their comrades’ last breath before the sonic sword of TAAKE cleaves them through.