Black metal is an overarching term that engulfs many different artists in a shadowed black cloud. Taake formed in 1993 under the moniker, Thule; eventually the band would see multiple line-up shifts while one remaining member persevered. In a stance of thunder, HOEST is the main creative process behind Taake and their newest 2017 release, Kong Vinter is another outflow of consciousness into the deep resources of the mind.
While HOEST is not alone, he works with four other members that work to form the newest rendition of Taake. With V’GANDR who handles the live bass and backing vocals, there are two guitarists, both AINDIACHAÍ and GJERMUND, and finally BRODD who performs like a machine on the percussion. They move without reason on Kong Vinter and become a smashing team that creates a wreckage throughout the record and show little mercy. The group dawns their white face-paint in a classical style of black metal that has the lo-fidelity sound mixed with an overbearing launch of war-esque instruments. It opens with “Sverdets Vei”, an instantly clashing level of sound floods into the frame and becomes synonymous with creating this uneasy feeling. It holds the attention through a rough, but well introduced level of growling vocals and the feel of black metal bleeds through the instruments. It is a call back to the original days of bands like Bathory or Darkthrone, while keeping a new focus on making a seguing piece of guitar riffs, percussion smashes, and vocal oppression that has this incredible amount of flow behind it.
It is the way that Taake uses atmospheric and horrid sound to portray a storyboard behind the music on the dualistic tracks, “Huset I Havet”, and “Havet I Huset” as the translation relates to “House in the Sea” and “Sea in the House” where HOEST is maniacal and nearly overbearing to a sense where the attitude is so incredibly aggressive and devastating. Taake makes Kong Vinter an ever-changing and adapting journey that reflects through the craftsmanship and understanding of creating a modern mix of sound with the style of yesteryear. This is especially present on “Maanebrent” that shines in how the riffs and punches from the guitar that can fly in fury together with the other instruments, washing over the listener in a heavy rain. Taake creates a great amount of consciousness into Kong Vinter where the wall of noise attacks, but also builds in the mood as it twists and forms entirely new styles with each section of the tracks present.
Kong Vinter is an exceptional record when it reaches the final climax of the jump on the final track, “Fra Bjoergegrend Mot Glemselen” where the sudden rush and the rising and falling action is the centerfold of the record. It becomes this equal wrap that takes parts from each section of Kong Vinter and packages them under one substantial, sectional roof. It is where HOEST is at his most level-headed; where the instrumental is primarily Earth-shaking, but still has moments where the sound is turned atmospheric and given a chance to breathe. The drawing of breath proceeds to give the listener a much needed break after the near hour-long release from Taake; an influential and prevailing one though.
Truly, it is where Taake shines through the rough and rugged styling of yesterday when being paired with a modern sound. The deadly reach is never forsaken by the atmospheric noise, and is instead only made more noticeable and explosive from the break in the sound. Kong Vinter takes the action and forms a real layer of depth behind the sound, it can build a sound completely; but also destroy and level what surrounds it.