Taake - ...Doedskvad - 2005 - Dark Essence Records
1. Doedskvad I 2. Doedskvad II 3. Doedskvad III 4. Doedskvad IV 5. Doedskvad V 6. Doedskvad VI 7. Doedskvad VII
I’m glad I’ve made a rule for myself never to start a sentence, especially the first one in a review, with the word “kvlt” (cult). If I hadn’t, then this black metal adjective would’ve been the first thing that popped into my head when I started to write this review. After twelve years of making music, “…Doedskvad” is only Taake’s third full length album. Granted, there have been several demos, splits, 7” vinyls, and LPs to keep fans happy over the years, but it would be a crime to suggest this album has been very highly anticipated within the black metal community. Fortunately for all fans out there, all their expectations should be met, and then some!
“…Doedskvad” is truly a brilliant album in every single aspect. Although I do have a great love for the genre, I can almost find some little fault with every black metal album I listen to (including my all-time favorite, Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas), but Taake’s latest seems almost without fault. Main man Doedsjarl Hoest is the man when it comes to vocals – he has one of the best grim voices I’ve heard. He’s got a great range, which he uses, and never sounds forced. His guitar riffs are, of course, repetitive in nature over the course of each song but there is a great variety between riffs from song to song. Some degree of repetitiveness is expected and even required in this kind of music, but oftentimes bands fall into a trap where every single song sounds the same – this is not the case with Taake, where each song has its own unique, bone-chilling riff to its name. The drumming style, courtesy of Mord, is very intense, but he’s also not afraid to slow things down when it’s time to do so. And I almost forgot to mention a guest appearance from none other than Nattefrost himself, who, as always, really makes his presence heard.
I think it’s interesting that Taake chose to not name any of their songs but rather just label them as separate parts of the album. My first thoughts were that this was totally inappropriate, given the uniqueness of each song in relation to each other as I’ve already talked about. It’s almost sort of ironic that an album like this would have no song titles whereas a black metal album that’s extremely boring and repetitive throughout would feature nine or ten long, pointless song titles like “The Desecration of the Most Unholy Altar of Satan’s Lust for Blood.” In a way, this sort of cancels out each song’s unique nature and ties them back to the album as a whole, albeit in a much more indirect way. Overall it doesn’t really matter, but it’s still very interesting all the same.
The best part of this album, however, is the way in which Taake manages to assemble the different elements that go into their music. On the surface they seem to be employing a raw/old-school approach, which isn’t totally incorrect. However, when one looks deeper, it becomes apparent that there is definetley something else going on here. This can be seen on Part IV especially, where we find something that most certainly isn’t your typical raw black metal riff. On the contrary, Taake have employed some serious Viking metal influences here! Oftentimes it’s impossible to get a successful Viking feel to music without using some extra instruments, like keyboard or fiddles, but Taake pull it off perfectly. This song is more epic and majestic than the first three, and is probably the album’s best. Here it’s pretty obvious (and now that I think of it, in Part IV it really makes a huge impact as well), but if you listen closely at several other points throughout the album you’ll begin to sense the Viking vibe I’m talking about. And the beautiful thing is this aspect is incorporated without straying from the black metal genre one bit – so many other bands that incorporate Viking/folk influences have specific sections for each type of music, and while they all sound great (take early Cruachan – I love it to death and I’m by no means knocking them but there are clear moments of separation) they don’t blend into each other at all.
It wouldn’t be fair to compare outside of its own genre, but as far as black metal and black metal alone goes, “…Doedskvad” is the best album to be released in 2005 so far. I really wish I had heard it by the time I sent my Mid-Year picks in (see staff Mid-Year awards 2005) because it definetley would’ve been in my top ten overall. In conclusion, I take my hat off to Mr. Hoest & co. This album is a must, I repeat, A MUST, for not just black metal fans, but anyone who has ever remotely liked any sort of extreme music over the course of their lifetime.
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