Taake – Noregs Vaapen (Candlelight Records)

Saturday, 23rd March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Forever known for mainman Hoest’s “unflattering” pictures (click here if you like to laugh…and be grossed-out), along with his always-genius move of donning of a Swastika, Norway’s Taake have made more PR blunders in their career than anyone should be allowed to. But this is black metal we’re talking about, where second-chances abound at every corner, which is probably why they’re still relevant and able to release an album like Noregs Vappen.

Nothing Taake does will surprise anyone, for their gimmick-free brand of black metal is supported by a nice spread of riffs of the brazen variety, with a scant trace of melody. It also helps to have several notable personalities from the black metal scene joining in on the fun, including Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto, Mayhem’s Attila Csihar, and former Immortal guitarist Demonaz. This trio’s inclusion gives further headway as to how Taake sounds – they’re essentially a conglomerate of the above-mentioned bands.

Taake sure knows its way around a riff, including on album opener “Fra Vadested Til Vaandesmed,” where speedy and almost punkified lead riff carries the entire song on its shoulders. The album really takes flight on “Du Ville Ville Vestland,” especially at 4:35 to 5:02, which contains a fantastic clap-along section that is clear-cut for 80’s metal. No, we’re not joking. To compound matters, the banjo solo on “Myr” at the 3:21 mark is a stroke of genius and is able to fit in with the song’s scathing underbelly without a problem.

Indicative of how malleable black metal is, Noregs Vaapen should become Taake’s staple release, the product of a band (or one man, rather) finally hitting its creative stride. Perhaps Hoest finally realized that having his “junk” dangle out of his jeans (the image is forever burned in my memory) and wearing a Swastika weren’t exactly the smartest of ideas. And yes, the guy is a total moron, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Noregs Vaapen is pretty darn good.

 www.myspace.com/taakeofficial

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)