True Norwegian black metal veterans TAAKE unleashed their supreme “Helnorsk Svartmetall” at Korjaamo in Helsinki after 3 years absence from Finnish live scenes. They were supported by 2 local acts: Hexhammer from Helsinki and Väki from Tampere.
TAAKE has been on tour celebrating their 25th anniversary, facing strong oppositions by Antifa protesters, whose activities sadly forced cancellations of their previously announced US tour and created turmoil also in few European cities, such as Stockholm, during the recent Stockholm Slaughter festival, where TAAKE, together with Swedish black metal act MARDUK were forced to perform in a different venue.
Despite all this, it was a memorable night in Helsinki.
The opening act, Väki, was formed in Tampere back in 2016. The band has released a two-song demo, “Kirous“, so far. They define themselves as an act “embodying the profound manifestations of death, impurity and chaos, dedicated to capture the darkest aspects of reality.” During their 30 minutes live set, I was intrigued by their fierce, grim and gloomy performance, also due to the visual aspects which contribute to create a feeling of struggling, suffering and depression. The melodies are obsessive and melancholic. The harsh vocals express agony and rage, desolation and intensity.
Second performer of the night was local act HEXHAMMER. Their mix of black rock ‘n roll / metal / punk infused with some crossover / thrash elements is remarkably entertaining and works well in a live environment. Recently appeared at Lepakkomies, Helsinki performing together with local bands such as Brainspoon supporting the Swedish act Prescriptiondeath, HEXHAMMER delivered once again a crushing, contagiously energetic set and their local supporters showed a warm, tremendous support. What I personally enjoy about this band is their versatile style which incorporates diverse influences and genres which would suit any listener´s need. This band is definitely worth a listen, especially live.
Finally it´s TAAKE´s turn to unleash their wrath on stage. As a long term fan, I was personally looking forward to their return to Helsinki after their latest performance which took place at Ääniwalli on September 25, 2015. TAAKE delivered a special live set which draws from across their full discography in order to celebrate their remarkable 25th anniversary career. Over the years, main composer Hoest has altered his black metal from old school to the traditionally second wave sound to more rhythmic, almost black ‘n’ roll traits and newer fans usually discuss his evolution in composing style. Nevertheless, the masterfully fierce live set proceeds flawlessly beyond any expectations: older “classics” such as “Hordalands doedskvad Pt. I” and “Over Bjoergvin graater himmerik IV” and the cult “Nattestid Ser Porten Vid Pt. 1” summon thick, solemn and soul piercing atmospheres while newer tracks such as “Myr”, “Orkan” and “Umenneske” offer a hint of disorienting and psychedelic qualities, together with enchanting hypnotic guitar melodies, such as in “Orm“. The outstanding live formation (which features bassist and vocalist V´Gandr of the Norwegian Viking dark metallers HELHEIM among others) performs with technical, contagious and inspiring strength. On top of that, Hoest is always willing to positively acknowledge and interact with his fans, staging few hilarious folk dance moves, referring to the audience as “brothers and sisters of Finland” and shouting “Suomi Finland perkele” few times. Commenting on recent tour cancellations, he underlines the fact that Finland has refused to bend to Antifa and probably never will in future. TAAKE did not deny a long encore to their Finnish fans as well: one hour and forty minutes of pure Helnorsk Svartmetall, which triumphed above all that night.