The black flame of true darkness burns as brightly as it ever has, if one knows where to look. Out of Norway, the cradle of this beautifully hateful and changeless aura remains unaltered by both the PC mob and the emergence of different trends. Two of the scene’s prime movers, Taake and Helheim, have joined forces as they have before, this time to the unholy rhythm of a split 10” record entitled Henholdsvis. Out on Friday, March 19, 2021 via Dark Essence Records, it is the last in a trifecta of such releases for Taake from the past year, this one is sure to please fans of both bands and black metal, as well as anyone who prefers their riffs and thrashy rhythms blackened around the edges.
For Taake, the first two songs are original compositions. “Brotne Beinog og Mannefall” and “Ein Baat i Foss,” display the band’s penchant for truly riff-driven Black Metal of a superbly creative and restless nature. The scathing rasp of Vocalist Hoest provides the stygian atmospherics intrinsic to the genre, but the rampant melodies and tension-building tempo changes gives these songs a ton of energy. The latter song boils over with menace following a melodic, rocking first minute or so. Taake does not shy away from true Heavy Metal roots, Similar to Darkthrone’s last few releases, they meld the ferocity of blast beats with an unmistakable Traditional Metal accent.
The record’s second pair of tracks falls to Helheim, the progenitors of the Viking Black Metal movement and veterans of their own slew of creative and monumental music. Here they remaster their version of Emperor’s “Hekesabbat (Witches Sabbath)” from 2012’s A Tribute to Emperor – In Honour of Icon E, and cover Taake’s excellent “Orkan” from their 2011 album Noregs Vaapen. The former is given the proper treatment of atmospheric eerie majesty worthy of such a crusty old gem. V’gandr and H’grimnir, with their full-throated roars, inject life into the composition, offering a take on something close to their hearts. On “Orkan,” we get a truly unique rendition of the song featuring echoing clean vocals and bellowing yells over an understated and almost lounge-style atmosphere. It is a thoughtful, dark and special version, and it is cool to see how each band interprets the art of its brothers.
Taake and Helheim are two of the more consistent and rewarding bands making Black Metal today, and such collaborations as this one don’t occur very often, so take advantage and get your over- anti-bacterial washed hands on a copy before they all sell out. Music not to miss out on, Cryptic Rock gives Henholdsvis 4.5 out of 5 stars.