One of the more prolific bands in the Black Metal pantheon, Norwegian purists Taake return with an EP meant to consolidate some work they did on three separate split vinyl releases, each released within the past couple of years. Working with such luminaries as Helheim, Whoredom Rife, as well as Deathcult, these tracks were collected and released under the name Avvik on July 2, 2021 through Dark Essence Records.
“Ubeseiret” comes in first, the song being a single they released back in ill-fated 2020. It is a bit more Death Metal in the riffing department, yet includes some intricate guitar work and even acoustic leads among the ravaging throat of band-leader Hoest. Never afraid to throw curveballs into their raw yet surprisingly considered etching of the Black Metal art, Taake provides a cover of Sisters of Mercy in the form of “Heartland.” Featuring a fantastic contribution on saxophone from the brilliant Dr. Mikannibal of the equally brilliant Japanese Extreme Metal act Sigh, the song is best served in the instrumental department, its grating repeated vocal line on the title perhaps missing the mark. Then again, grating and abrasiveness is a defining quality of Taake’s music and amazing career.
Hearkening back to early Ulver, fans are treated to an acoustic version of “Nattestid ser porten vid I.” The version is a surprisingly upbeat, compositionally engaging example of the musicality that shines beneath the shadowy husk of this genre of aural expression. It also retains the deep longing present in the original version, and might just be the most rewarding listen on the whole EP.
Then there is “Slagmark” which returns things to extremity, as this song demonstrates the fabulous riffing and Heavy Metal heart beating within Taake’s music. The Darkthrone cover “Ravnajuv” was a bit of a surprise, and is made with much the same necro sound and spirit as present in the original. It’s a very decent cover of a less than obvious Darkthrone tune, and works well amid the whole. The last two songs on the EP were previously reviewed earlier in 2021 on Cryptic Rock Magazine in the format of their original release on the split Henholdsvis with countrymen Helheim. They help round out a successful EP that happens to have excellent cover art too. Overall, Cryptic Rock gives Avvik 4 out of 5 stars.