Taake was never a band that particularly impressed me. In fact, Nattestid...
was actually rather irritating, despite the praise heaped upon it by others. The bits and pieces that I heard of the two albums
that followed did nothing to change this impression. At some point, I decided to pick up the Helnorsk svartmetall compilation,
though it also seemed rather lackluster. That is, with the exception of the last two tracks, which were taken from the first
Thule demo. Released in 1993, Der vinterstormene raste is easily the best thing that Hoest has ever had a hand in.
The opening moments of "Et Skaldekvad I Hellig Blod" seem somewhat
upbeat, before the catchy rhythm is replaced by a cold and mournful tremolo melody. This is quite typical Norwegian black
metal, for this period. The riffs are pretty similar to what one would hear from the early demos of Gorgoroth, Enslaved or
Urgehal. The lo-fi recording really helps to lend a grim and gloomy atmosphere to the music. Despite the demo-quality sound,
the bass is audible and provides a contrast to the cold guitar tone. The combination of the frigid tremolo riffs and sombre
bass lines really serves to create a dismal feeling. Near the end of the first track, as the pace slows, the misery washes
over you in overwhelming waves. Hoest's vocals are utterly inhuman shrieks, very high-pitched and adding a primal feeling
to the music. Svartulv's backing vocals add a hellish vibe as well. The second track, "Rasekrig", continues to build on this
harsh and melancholic feeling, with blistering cold sections that give way to dark and dreary melodies that carve through
your flesh and leave you to bleed out in the frozen night.
Der Vinterstormene Raste is such a great demo, really epitomizing
the sound of classic Norwegian black metal. The music here is cold, bleak, evil and otherworldy; things that have so often
been lost on those that try to emulate this style. It is difficult to fathom why Hoest decided to abandon this approach for
the more pretentious sound of Taake, for there is just a sense that this was but a harbinger of things to come. As previously
stated, these tracks are available on the Helnorsk svartmetall compilation, so they shouldn't be too difficult to find.
This is well worth a close listen.
(13 Aug. 2016)