Yes, this is just what the good black metal doctor ordered – a vigorous and disgusting split EP by two of the best and most prominent Norwegian exponents of the aforementioned genre out there., i.e. Taake and Deathcult. While Taake hardly needs any introduction as they have been at the forefront of black metal for many years now, Deathcult is sadly a little more obscure and still a relatively unknown entity to many, which is a damn shame as the foul trio has unleashed two of the most memorable and sinister BM records since the turn of the millennium, namely Cult of the Dragon (2007) and Cult of the Goat (2017).

Jaertegn contains four tracks in total, two of which are original compositions whereas the other two are cover renditions. Taake kicks things off with the nearly 7-minute long ‘Slagmark’, which is riddled with grim riffs and superb melodies. The arrangements are quite interesting here and there is a strange groove to this blackened piece that is both appealing and almost at odds with the feel and atmosphere of the track in general, but for some uncanny reason it totally works. Towards the end it heads into more epic and melancholy territory and its climax is suitably dramatic. Next up is a confident and moody take on Darkthrone’s overlooked ‘Ravnajuv’ where Taake manages to retain the vibe of the original while simultaneously leaving their own necro-romantic mark on it. It is neither the most thrilling nor memorable cover version that main-man Hoest has conjured up (there are more adventurous takes on the works of others on past Taake EPS and compilations in existence), but it is an enjoyable listen.

Deathcult are clearly intent on melting your face and ruining your otherwise perfect day as evidenced by the pitch-black aura of ‘Der Würger’. This one is arguably one of the most hypnotic and catchy songs composed by the band yet. The riffs are splendid, and the harsh vocals are as sick as they are intense. If you are in the lookout for creepy Norwegian black metal, make sure you check this satanic anthem out. Their rendition of Beherit’s ‘Black Arts’ is as morbid and unpleasant as they come, and the vocals are fantastic here. Not many are capable of evoking the unholy spirit of Finnish pioneers Beherit and taking it one step further, but Deathcult have truly captured the essence of the vile hymn and infused it with their own style and personality. A thoroughly impressive display of black metal magic.

Jaertegn will be released on the 10th of July on 10″ vinyl format and audio cassette via Edged Circle Productions. Needless to say, we are talking limited editions here and this writer seriously doubts that they will ever be re-pressed or re-released again. The song material is strong and the sheer brilliance of the 8-minute ‘Der Würger’ alone is reason enough to invest in this raw and filthy slab of Scandinavian darkness.


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