The renowned harbinger of magnificent Norwegian black metal that is Taake laid siege to Kvarteret in the city center of Bergen last night and it was a glorious display of fierce and emotionally intense music.

We arrived rather late at the venue, which entailed that we only caught the last 25 minutes of Ováte’s set, but the 5-piece were loud and raging not to mention that they seemed confident on stage. There were some strong melodies, interesting parts, and good vocals present. On top of that, there were plenty of cool nuances to the affair with respect to the arrangements and guitar work, which was perfectly exemplified by the rather epic closing track. Ovate is a band that yours truly needs to check up on and familiarize himself with for sure.

There is always something special about a Taake hometown gig and this one was no different. In many ways, the size and feel of Kvarteret was perfect for this particular kind of concert in that it feels intimate yet hardly claustrophobic. The venue was packed by the time the brilliant intro started blaring out of the speakers, and the thick and blackened atmosphere that one usually associated with the band’s live performance was very much present from the very second they launched into their beautifully morose and aesthetically intriguing brand of bone-chilling black metal. The unit was tight, the sound was certainly respectable and decent from where we were standing (despite a few technical problems and glitches), and there was absolutely no let-up in terms of aggression throughout the performance.

Main man Hoest was as charismatic on stage as ever and the crowd was ecstatic, which was great to see. As my wife rightly pointed out, everything just fits together and clicks from both a musical and visual point of view when watching the skilled ensemble on stage; all the different components complement and enhance each other. There were some wicked surprises in terms of the set list, most notably a rendition of the ancient "Blant Soelv og Gull i Moerket" (from the 1996 EP entitled "Koldbrann i Jesu Marg") and a hypnotic cover version of The Cure’s "Cold" (from the 2014 "Kulde" EP) with Daniel Vrangsinn (Carpathian Forest) handling the vocals on the latter. "Nordbundet", "Du Ville Ville Vestland", and "Myr" sounded sharp and muscular with V’gandr’s marvelous bass lines being rather prominent in the mix during those three pieces, which was a real treat to hear. The last handful of compositions that they tore through, namely "Nattestid Ser Porten Vid II", "Inntrenger", "Hordalands Doedskvad I", "Fra Vadested til Vaandesmed", and "Nattestid Ser Porten Vid 1", were scorching hot and delivered with such class and determination that they might well have been the very highlights of the show for yours truly. The mesmerizing "Fra Vadested til Vaandesmed" in particular is an utterly rewarding musical experience, and the entire show in itself was hugely memorable.  

If you are on the lookout for an immersive black metal live experience with soul, depth, and deep-seated passion to it, look no further than Taake and make sure you catch these fuckers on the road somewhere if you have yet to do so.