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A number of bands that played at Maryland Deathfest in May of 2014 were quite memorable, but Taake’s performance really stands out. Playing in the setting sun at the Edison lot late in the afternoon, vocalist and band founder Hoest, dressed in a dark robe and decked out in corpsepaint, was obviously thrilled to be playing before a large crowd at their first appearance in the United States. Taake were energized, and the huge crowd at Edison on that day responded with a roar.

Although Taake have done a small tour of the United States since that appearance at MDF, June 11 marked the band’s first performance in Los Angeles. Playing at the Regent Theater in downtown L.A., Taake would be supported by Young and in the Way (YAITW), and Wolvhammer. Given Taake’s strong performance at MDF, I was sure to catch this show.

When I arrived at the Regent Theater, the area was already filled with people, many of whom were attendees of the Sound and Fury Festival, a festival featuring many hardcore acts held earlier in the day. The theater itself holds about 750 people of so, and, by the time Wolvhammer began at 11pm, despite the late hour, the theater was already close to capacity.

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Minnesota’s Wolvhammer have been in the news lately, mostly due to vocalist Adam Clemans’s recent performances with Skeletonwitch. Regardless as to whether or not Clemans is a fit for Skeletonwitch’s style, he’s an energetic frontman as he led Wolvhammer through a 40-minute long set. Opening with “The Gleaming,” Wolvhammer played their hybrid of sludge and black metal with enthusiasm, eliciting a strong response from the crowd.

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The spillover hardcore fans from the Sound and Fury festival seemed to be quite familiar with North Carolina’s YAITW, as the anticipation become palpable during the short changeover. Indeed, the crowd exploded into fury a full 10 seconds before YAITW even played their first note. Fully cognizant of their effect upon the crowd, a feedback loop of energy soon developed between the band on stage and the crowd below. Comparisons between YAITW and, say, Nails, are warranted; each band’s hybrid version of extreme metal flavored with a dash of hardcore is extremely caustic and engaging in a live setting. YAITW’s set was one of the more violent sets that I’ve ever witnessed.

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The Regent Theater was definitely filled to capacity by the time that Taake finally took the stage after 1am. Entering the darkened stage to intro music, Hoest and his quartet of live musicians soon exploded into action amidst atmospheric fog and a mixture of green and blue stage lighting. Unfortunately, some guitar problems arose immediately, and Taake were a bit slow out of the gate, but, by the third song, the problems had been resolved and Taake very quickly warmed to the task. Playing a long set of nearly 70 minutes, Hoest and Taake took the audience through a masterful display of True Norwegian Black Metal. Hoest is a commanding presence on stage, and he delivered his vocals with punch. At the end of the set, YAITW vocalist Kable Lyall joined Hoest on stage for a rousing rendition of GG Allin’s “Die When You Die”, bringing down the house in the process.

Taake’s first appearance in Los Angeles was a triumph.

—Dave Schalek

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Wolvhammer

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Young and in The Way

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Taake

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This post has been edited to more accurately reflect the membership of Wolvhammer, as well as the year Taake played Maryland Deathfest.

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