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Neo-Prog • Norway

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Taskaha biography
A Norwegian combo TASKAHA were founded as a mixture rock project by Rick HOLMEN (vocals), Stian DAHL (guitars), Simen HANSSEN (guitars), David van DORT (bass), and Ole Martin SVENDSEN (drums). Their debut eponymous album released in 2020 has been appreciated in lots of progressive rock websites or radio stations.

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TASKAHA discography

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3.87 | 11 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Taskaha by TASKAHA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 11 ratings

Taskaha Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars One day I received a message through ProgArchives from Ole Martin, the drummer from Gentle Knife, asking if I would be interested in hearing the debut album from another band he was involved with. Given how much I enjoy Gentle Knife, I of course accepted and here I am now listening to the first release from Taskaha. The line-up is completed by Rick Holmen (vocals), Stian Dahl (guitars), Simen Hanssen (guitars) and David van Dort (bass), and together the quintet has produced an album which is often within the neo-prog genre, while also stepping into prog metal, all without the use of a keyboard player (there are a few backing chords here and there, but that is all). The twin guitarists are obviously linked in, while the bass often plays between them and the drums, creating an additional melodic layer while Ole is also rarely settled into set patterns, providing additional fills and breaks. This means there is an awful lot going on behind the vocals, which are simply superb. Rick has a clear and clean style, which allows him to go through a range of styles and notes without any sense of force, always relaxed. That he sings in clean unaccented English also adds to the appeal, and when he scats on "Distressed" all the listeners can do is smile.

This is a very clean album in terms of production, yet never sterile as there is a drive from the rhythm section which keep pushing it forward, and then Stian and Simen either play as one, allow the other to take the lead, or go into joint complexity. For all that, this is essentially a very easy album to listen to, with the band having taken influences from the likes of Porcupine Tree, Muse, Dream Theater, IQ, Pallas, and Aragon, yet have turned that into something quite different with an approach which allows the listener to really embrace the music. One is never sure when harmony vocals are going to come in, or when the guitars are going to totally change their approach, as each song is packed full of sections even though there is only one lengthy number on the album (closer "The Climb" at thirteen minutes). This is a very classy debut, and one which many progheads are really going to enjoy. Definitely worth seeking out.

 Taskaha by TASKAHA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 11 ratings

Taskaha Neo-Prog

Review by FatherChristmas

4 stars NOTE: My apologies,I wrote this review before some changes were made to the album's track listing. New songs were added and the order was changed. Taskaha are a fairly new band from Norway, who have recently released their self-titled debut album. As it happens, according to Google translate, Taskaha means nothing in Norweigan, but does mean 'treasures' in Somali. But I'll get on.

'Mind Date' begins the album with a heavy guitar riff, which goes on for a while before it breaks down (partially, there are still drums) and the first lyrics ensue. I'll say no more, except that it is complex, professional (the guitar is especially advanced - note the guitar solo specifically), and imaginative - a great quality that seems to be so abundant with new bands/artists today. Being different and imaginative in music is what made bands like Genesis famous.

Next up, 'Nature Girl'. Opening with a soft electric guitar riff and fairly quiet vocals, when I first heard this song it had a strange sense of foreboding at the beginning of it - and I was right, it continues with a heavy riff worthy of prog metal. Dark and emotional, this song has the usual qualities of neo prog - but it has elements of the band's own style too, a very good sign, since if a band has not got it's own sound it won't go very far.

After 'Nature Girl' ends with a bang, 'Reframe!' begins with a bang ' with one of the best riffs on the album. Don't quite know what it is, but this magnificent song really brings me back to the 80s ' it's a masterpiece, I'm serious. If this was the 80s, this would have been a hit, I'm sure - not in the way of 'Sussudio', more in the way of 'Lavender Blue', it's not a pop song, it's just great. No other way of describing it.

'Daylight's Fading' is another very powerful song. It, like all long neo songs I've ever heard, is emotionally varied, soft sometimes and hard at points, dramatic, and feels like you've heard all the music in the world at the end. It is the magnum opus of the album - not necessarily the greatest song on the album ('Reframe!' takes that honour), but it the most complex musical achievement ' and a great song besides - and a guitar solo to match 'Mind Date', the other opus of the album.

The final song, 'Invisible', makes a change - opening with acoustic rather than electric guitar (though, mind you, so does 'Daylight's Fading'). It is as complex and multi-layered as the other songs on the album - if not more so. In fact, it's a bit too complex - I can barely describe it, though it has yet another excellent guitar solo ' that eventually becoming a riff, that ends the song and the album. All else I can say is... it's a good ender, but lacks the urgency and emotions of the rest of the album.

My conclusion: I was very tempted to give the album five stars, but resisted. My requirements for a five star album:

1. The songs must all be excellent.

2. It must work brilliantly as an album.

Number one is perfect - though 'Invisible' is perhaps not quite as good as the others. Number two - a little like Terraformer by Thank You Scientist, the music is so complex and imaginative that it gets a bit much. Not that that's a bad thing, it just is an imperfection (since some will not appreciate over-complicated music - even in the world of prog) - and knocks off a star therefore.

However, this is a very promising album in general - and Taskaha, I must say, are very promising band in general. I've heard material by classic prog bands that is not up to their standards. They are also very talented musicians - the guitar is superb, it really is - and even better, the guitarist has his own style of playing, just like some of the best players (Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, etc.) and the singing is also to be noted - it must be difficult enough singing well, let alone in not your first language. Like I said, very promising, I expect even better on their next album.

And as I sometimes like to say at the end of a review: The final verdict is... four stars!

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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