Friday, 8 June 2018

Taake - Kong vinter

TAAKE - Kong vinter (DARK ESSENCE - LP 2017)
Unfortunately, I missed my chance to get Taake's "Stridens hus" LP, as well as "Kulde" and "Baktanker" EPs. They're all still on my wantlist and I hope that one day will be able to complete my vinyl collection of this fantastic Norwegian band. Meanwhile I got a chance to buy "Kong vinter", which is Taake's seventh full length. Did I have big expectations towards this record? Sure, I did. All in all, some of the previous albums of this project belong to the best Norwegian black metal ever released, especially such "Noregs vaapen" and "Hordalands doedskvad" are godly albums, definitely my favourites in Hoest's catalogue. As for "Kong vinter", I can say that it's good album, maybe even very good... but at the same time I cannot say that it's the peak of Taake's creativity and quality. There are of course many fragments, which confirm the talent of Hoest as composer, I love his characteristic riffs, vocals and the atmosphere he creates in his music. But at the same time I miss something here. Maybe it's the fact that the album is pretty slow paced, so it lacks a bit of that viciousness and aggression of previous albums is the reason? Here and there it just gets a bit monotonous. And it's one hour long record, man, which is a bit too much! 
The biggest feeling of tired and monotonous material for me personally comes from songs titled "Huset i havet" and "Havet i huset", which are on side B of the double vinyl. They're solid songs, sure, with couple of great harmonies and riffs. It's classic Taake, but not the best I heard. When I listen to them, I feel like the music becomes too repetitive, if Hoest was circling around the same kind of ideas over and over again... I could really live without these two. Luckily songs like "Sverdets vei" are far better. This one contains one of the very few fast parts on the album, but also a lot of slower type of playing and again some surprising melodic stuff, so it's varied, but interesting song. And I like it a lot. "Inntrenger" is also great, even though it's much slower. But there's this cold, vicious and ultimately grim black metal, which Taake is best at. Great atmosphere, great riffs, great vocals... that's what I like"Inntrenger" has very hypnotizing feel as well, with the way the riffs flow, especially in the opening, instrumental part of the song. 
What else we have here? Well, first of all, there's "Jernhaand", which probably is my favourite track on the album, I love its Darkthrone'ish parts combined with classic Taake type of riffage, fast pace and cold, grim, misanthropic black metal aura. There's also "Fra Bjoergegrend mot glemselen", which is an instrumental, ten minutes long, epic song, which has some truly amazing harmonies, especially in the second part. I almost get "goose skin", when I hear these stunning riffs. Finally we get a bonus track, which is "On Top" - De Press cover. De Press are this weird Polish / Norwegian rock band, which I always found funny, especially with their songs like "Bo jo cie kochom", which are pretty popular here in Poland. I actually checked "On Top" in its original version, and it's quite bizarre song, so I'm surprised to hear Taake covering it. But hey! Last time they did The Cure cover, so maybe the times, when Hoest was doing covers of Burzum or Darkthrone are gone haha  
Generally "Kong Vinter" didn't surprise me with anything. It's rather typical Taake record. And not their best one, I'm afraid. But it's a good and solid album, with some good songs. I even like that cheesy front photograph. I don't think then that Taake will win many new listeners with this record. Haters will keep hating them, worshipers will still worship Taake. I like this band a lot. 
Standout tracks: "Inntrenger", "Jernhaand",  "Sverdets vei" 
Verdict: 70/100 

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