Taake - Nattestid LP (Black vinyl)
Taake's debut, without a shred of doubt in my mind, is one of the greatest black metal albums of all time, a shining beacon of everything that is inspiring about the genre. In no other sub-genre of heavy metal music can I think of a single album that so effectively captures every single thing about that style of music as a whole and pulls it off with such artful aplomb. Every single mood and facet one could possibly associate with the darkest shade of metal is here in spades, melded and forged and hammered and shaped into an instrument of emotional, physical force that cuts and cleaves to the very fiber of your being. Listening to this album gives me the impression that, from some great lofty height of a jagged, snow-capped mountain peak, Hoest was able to gaze upon the entirety not only of black metal's recorded output to that point in time but into the very hearts of the legends and heroes of the genre to better understand why they made the music that they did. He gazed upon those visions and, through some unholy miracle, was able himself to smith from those same ingredients something even more profound than was ever accomplished by the original second-wave greats.