As summer inevitably crawls closer, cold and harsh black metal is the best way to spend an evening in withdrawal from the sun. Especially if the performing band is none other than the legendary Taake from Bergen, Norway.
My expectations were high, and the closer it was to the show, the more impatient I was getting. But fast-fowarding ahead, the gig fulfilled all my expectations to say the least, so it was definitely worth the wait.
Just like during their last show in Helsinki, Taake were supported by Finnish bands; this time the warm-up acts were Väki from Tampere and Hexhammer from Helsinki.
Väki could be described as your typical opening band: slightly repetitive but far from boring, their set helped the audience to immerse in the mood of the black metal evening. Even though the sound suffered at first, it improved throughout the gig and the vocals were made more audible. Though the venue was still far from crowded, the audience was already clearly having a good time.
After the sinister pagan metal atmosphere Väki created onstage, Hexhammer brought forth their black ‘n’ roll vibes to Korjaamo. The gig’s overall ambiance was not really something one could expect as a support to Norwegian black metal, nor was it something I would usually listen to – and such a change from what I mostly listen to was an interesting one. One of the best things about Hexhammer’s gig was the bass lines, audible and powerful throughout the gig.
When the opening bands were done, the long-awaited headliner made sure to mesmerize the crowd with an aggressive black metal storm.
Not every black metal gig includes such intense interaction with the audience. Well, Taake’s gig did and Hoest, the mastermind behind the band, had seen to it. With the dedicated (one could almost say: possessed) frontman handing the mic out to the audience, giving fist bumps, holding fans’ arms (or almost hugging them) and more of the like, the gig was literally in-your-face.
The eerily melodic intro which preceded “Jernehaand” from the newest album opened the show. And what a show it was… Taake drenched Korjaamo in northern darkness at its finest.
If the first song hadn’t gripped the crowd yet, “Nordbundet” surely did. The song from Noregs Vaapen, stunning as it is on the album, was an experience beyond words played live.
The night went on with “Bjoergvin IV” from the early material. A classic from the album of the same title, beginning with roaring black metal cacophony and moving smoothly to a far more melodic part, was just as perfectly balanced as the Norwegian masters can do. “Inntrenger” was to be played next, and the Kong Vinter madness didn’t end there, and “Havet i Huset” with its incredibly danceable passage rocked the hell out of the venue. It could be seen also among the enthusiastic crowd, who were clearly having a great time.
“Orm,” the only song from Stridens Hus which had been played that evening, ensured the setlist included works from all of Taake’s discography. After all, the band has been around for 25 years, which Hoest didn’t forget to mention. In light of recent controversies, a cancelled US tour and the Stockholm gig being moved to a secret location, the frontman made sure to praise the Finnish attitude as well. Those who were at the gig surely remember both the musician’s words of approval and the cheering audience appreciating his words.
The first song from Taake’s debut album was left for the end – “Nattestid I,” more melancholic than the band’s latest material, made just as great of an impression as more aggressive songs from the newer albums.
With the set drawing to a close, “Doedsjarl“ could be heard. This song from Taake’s self-titled album sung by Hoest and the bassist V’gandr was definitely one of the concert’s highlights. And the evening’s last song was “Myr,” unmistakable with its banjo solo. With the setlist stretching to 12 songs and the concert lasting nearly an hour and a half, the Taake gig was entertaining beyond words as well as professional and delightfully dark.
Full photo gallery by Marco Manzi here.