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Nattestid... (1999)

For well over a decade now, it has been nearly impossible to not be confronted by the overrated and over-hyped entity known as Taake. One of the latecomers to the Norwegian scene, this band's first full-length was not released until 1999. Nattestid... is a very tedious listen and one that offers very little reward.

The first things that once notices when listening to this is the horrid production. Or, rather, it is seems that it had a clearer production and then some sort of trickery was involved, after the fact. In the end, what we have here is a tenth-generation dub of the original master tape, in an insincere attempt at sounding grim. The result is something that is just noisy and irritating, as certain frequencies are just grating to the ear. As is often problematic with modern releases, the drums and bass are too high in the mix and create a muddy feeling.

Musically, this is just a complete mess. There is far too much going on, and yet not enough really happening. The various layers do not seem to fit together very well. The drumming is just too much, with so many useless fills and tempo changes. The clean guitars that are added on top of the rest just make things more difficult to grasp. Then there are the disgusting clean vocals that kill any attempt at atmosphere. This really sounds like the result of a few kids making a poor attempt at picking up from where Emperor left off with Anthems..., along with some influences from Satyricon and early Aeternus. Regardless of what influenced this atrocity, they failed to really understand what black metal was supposed to be about, because this isn't it. Despite the aesthetics and techniques, this is the total opposite of dark or evil. Perhaps this is supposed to be some sort of Viking metal or "forest metal"? At any rate, Taake failed to create anything worthwhile. Imagine an album like The Return... or Under A Funeral Moon that was drowning in clean guitars, over-audible bass lines, classical influenced melodies and clean wailing. It is very likely that Hoest and his pals were part of the later generation that were exposed to modern flower metal before ever hearing any real black metal.

Nattestid... is not a totally worthless album. The band are fairly competent at playing and Hoest's vocals are not bad at all. If you are into the 'pretty' and 'flowery' side of metal, this will appeal to you. However, if you are seeking a solid offering of Norwegian black metal, you are in the wrong place. Turn away and flee.
(28 Feb. 2015)

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