Monday, February 20, 2012

Taake: Noregs Vaapen (2011)

Black Metallers with Manhood Intact

There are so many bands out there today practicing the Second Wave style of Norwegian black metal that it's hard to know which one is going to be worth your time. It's no help that there are plenty of reviewers out there who care more about troo-ness than about musical quality. So if you want a dose of that style, how are you supposed to know what to get?

I chose Taake because of the controversy. I admit it. Apparently there's a line offensive to Muslims, which caused quite a stir. Had it been about Christians, no one would have blinked. I support anyone who's going to dare some extremist Muslims to plot their death. It takes balls to do it, and it serves the important purpose of desensitizing some touchy people.

As I said, I came for the controversy. But I stayed for the music. Kvlter-than-thou types will hate the production. It's flawless, not over-polished, but very powerful and clear. The purists might hate the music too, being more melodic and catchy than your typical Second Wave type material. Other than that, nothing's going to jump out at you and make you notice that it's anything different. Well, except for one little thing.

There's a banjo solo in "Myr". It absolutely does not fit the music, at all. Cold, aggressive black metal matched with a warm, rustic-sounding instrument? It makes about as much sense as seeing corpse paint at the Grammys (incidentally, the album was nominated for the Norwegian equivalent). It definitely doesn't work. And yet, I keep coming back to it. It's awesome simply because it's such an inappropriate match. I would listen to a whole album like that.

The Verdict: It's very good, melodic black metal played in the Second Wave style, by men with testicles (which is a lot more than can be said for most black metallers). And they have a so-wrong-it's-right banjo solo in there. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I got a chuckle out of the subtitle here and I wonder if it was done intentionally. Taake's singer has the distressing tendency to physically display his manhood. I will not post pics or links but they can be found.