Review: Taake / Helheim “Henholdsvis” [Dark Essence Records]

Review: Taake / Helheim “Henholdsvis” [Dark Essence Records]

- in Reviews

Here is a nice little split disc, where although you wish there was more music to get your hands on, what actually is there is fairly satisfying.

The record is split between Taake and Helheim, both bands having two songs. What is there to say about those songs? Brotne Bein og Mannefall, the first Taake song, is a relatively conventional black metal track, starting with riffs that you’ve already heard a million times, but that which sound good at least. The song also has enough energy and speed to keep you interested.

The track where Taake shows more ambition, and probably one of the more memorable songs on this four-track record is Ein Baat I Foss. This one has more complex riffs, a more discernible, constantly changing melody, and some pretty catchy riffs and basslines. It also has this recurring riff that creates a haunting and disquieting atmosphere. The vocal performance also really sounds like it’s coming from the beyond, the afterlife, call it what you will, along with some “Ugh!” screams, and a strange ending with weird vocal noises and sound effects.

That one is followed by another of the more memorable songs, Helheim covering Taake’s Orkan. It’s not a typical black metal track, as it has no harsh vocals but haunted-sounding clean singing and an eerie main riff, and some riffs at the end that could almost be called black’n roll. It’s completely different from the original, and sounds very good in its own right, so, points for doing a really cool cover.

Next is an Emperor cover. This time, it sounds like a fiercer black metal track with great shrieking vocals, in a pretty good imitation of Emperor and some strange howling in the background. Great spooky stuff.

So this split sounds good overall. But the problem is that there’s only four songs, two per artist, and the only ones that the second band gets to play are covers, one of which was originally a song by the first band. So you might ask, why even bother? Who asked for this, was it absolutely necessary to record a four-tracks split between these two particular bands, where the least successful band only plays covers? In many ways, this is one of the least ambitious records of Taake and Helheim’s careers.

But in many ways, this sounds so great, and actually does have such obvious ambition in both covers and original songs, that I can’t help but enjoy it a little. Sure, it’s far from indispensable, not something you absolutely need to hear, just something you could check out if you’re really curious. Even though it’s so short, it’s at least an OK record, where Taake delivers some pretty good new material and Helheim proves that they’re very good at covers. So, not a total waste of time.

Release date: March 19, 2021

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