Taake - Underworld 2019

Taake Gig Review – Underworld 12th December 2019

Norwegian black metallers, Taake, performed at Camden’s Underworld in London on 12th December, so I decided to venture along after voting in the UK General Election to enjoy the carnage.

Formed in 1993 in the epicentre of Nordic metal, Bergen, the band are the self-proclaimed pioneers on “True Norwegian Black Metal“, singing – well, screaming – their lyrics in their native Norwegian dialect, and printing them only in runes. Pronounced “Tar-key“, the band’s name translates as “Fog“, which is obviously apt for me, and their pedigree in the genre is second-to-none (except for Mayhem perhaps); leaving a trail of controversy in their wake.

Frontman and nuclei member, Hoest, is certainly no stranger to notoriety, having previously served prison sentences for assault, and their lineage in the pantheon of darkness includes being banned from performing in Germany after appearing onstage with swastikas and inverted crosses scrawled across their torsos, though the band have steadfastly stressed that they are not nazis – simply that the tone and vibe of black metal is one of evil – and that is the atmosphere they attempt to create when performing.

They have caused outrage amongst some of the Muslim community, although their themes are predominately anti-religious in general – rather than specifically anti-Islam; Taake’s mission is ostensibly to offend all of the people all of the time, and if that is not a good reason to go and see them, I don’t know what is.

I was lucky enough to seem them play a couple of years ago at Resurrection Fest in Spain, so I was especially excited to see them again on a cold December night in my hometown.

The gig was intimate but intense and the band played at a blistering pace, thunderously rattling through old and new tunes alike, seemingly arranged to blend into one continuous set of diabolical noise. It is 20 years since Taake released Nattestid, and the years have not diminished their energy and raw power on stage; the long hair may be gone now, but Hoest is ever the showman, cutting a striking figure onstage – and despite the corpse paint, is clearly not dead yet.

Taake that (and party!).

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