TASKAHA – Taskaha

TASKAHA - Taskaha
  • 9.2/10
    TASKAHA - Taskaha - 9.2/10


Release date: August 28, 2020

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Taskaha is a new Prog Rock / Metal band hailing from Norway. They draw inspiration from all of the Prog greats while making the sound their own. Their self-titled debut album Taskaha contains a vast soundscape of songs that will take you from headbanging territory to the most fragile, delicate and intimate self-reflective songs.

Not Just Another Prog Release

If you heard the words new and Prog and went “oh god, not another Djent band,” you’re not alone. There is no denying that bands like Periphery, Animals as Leaders and Tesseract are innovative and have made very influential contributions to Metal as a whole. Unfortunately,  the endless stream of me-too groups jumping on the Djent bandwagon of syncopated rhythms, atonal harmonies, and abuse of the infamous broomstick of doom single note riffs has most Metal fans looking elsewhere for entertainment.

When a new Prog release lands, you probably ask yourself which one is it going to be this time? A Djentleman’s load of gratuitous odd time signatures? Endless technical wankery that is past even what most would call Shred and do little more than showcase virtuosity? Yet another Dream Theater copy with a high pitched singing vocalist and all too familiar rehashes of riffs from a decade bygone? Or Power / Symphonic metal posing as prog by adding a sprinkle of odd time signatures and off-key harmonies?

Surprisingly dear reader, Taskaha’s self-titled debut album is none of the above. What you are looking at here is something unique and exciting indeed – a band that has found their own voice within the Prog genre that is a joy to listen to.

That Taskaha Sound

Taskaha does not hold back when showing their influences. You’ll find references to all of the Progressive greats here, from Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd-inspired vocal harmonies to Tool’s almost post-rock approach to repeated riffage. Their sound also passes through Dream Theater and Rush territory and into modern classics like A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree, Evergrey, or Symphony X.

Surprisingly, those references appear in no larger doses than how often Dream Theater visits Rush for inspiration and not overstaying in any one source of inspiration’s domain. Make no mistake though; there’s plenty here to love for the older Progressive Rock fan who grew up to Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, or Camel.

Taskaha’s sound is as often heavy as it is delicate. The band will take you through a journey of varied soundscapes unapologetically, without ever descending into gratuitous odd time signatures or technical showcasing that so frequently infest this genre of Metal. Borrowing from musical styles as diverse as Fusion Jazz, Blues Rock, and Classical, there’s something here for everyone to love.

There are plenty of straight rock-out moments with a touch of blues like in the first track “Mind Date” that never entirely abandon Prog territory but dare paint outside the lines, not unlike Dream Theater’s last collaboration with an outside producer in Falling Into Infinity. But there’s always very fragile moments, like in the 13-minute epic “The Climb,” and gloomy, Doom Metal inspired self-reflection in Daylight’s Fading. The band’s exploration of other styles runs deep, as showcased in “Eden” which delves into Art Rock with its Classical Music style arpeggios almost as if made for being played in a concert hall on a classical acoustic.

Each song has almost “movements” to it, visiting different moods between the intro and the final destination, and with lyric content that always seems to counterpoint itself… Disappointment and desperation are often countered with uplift and optimism, much like the human experience itself.

Performance and Production


The guitars, handled by Stian Dahl and Simen Hanssen, create memorable passages that not only have a great sense of melody, harmony, and rhythm but also have some of the best tones presented in a Metal record in the last decade. Solos are never self-serving and always play to the song’s strengths, creating complementary melodies or punctuating climaxes. Harmonies and riffs are inventive and take plenty of risks, still landing safely back.

The record’s production as a whole is impressive, not only for an unsigned indie release but also for any Rock record in 2020. We have listened to very few albums this year with such big sounding guitars, deep-reaching, fully-bodied and yet clear bass, natural but punchy drums, and tasty vocals that never sound harsh or get lost in the mix.

Bass and drums are in a perfect marriage, played by David van Dort and Ole Martin Svendsen respectively. David’s bass lines are imaginative without ever failing to gel together drums and guitars. His tone is one of the best we have heard in the genre. Ole’s drums are powerful and controlled, but never sound sterile or surgical. The production has lent them a very natural yet punchy sound that matches the whole perfectly.

This review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention how vocalist and MER alum Rick Holmen’s vocals fit like a glove into the music, and never seem overreaching or out of place. Rick does not fall into any of the genre’s cliches, succeeding in never sounding too operatic or excessively aggressive. He very rarely delves into the far reaches of his high register, which only plays to his strengths, and delivers an excellent performance throughout the record, with maybe a few sections in “The Climb” as an exception, but not to the point of it hurting the song.

Rick manages to convey the varied emotions in the lyrical and musical content very potently and with masterful interpretation. He presents excellent versatility navigating with elegance between soft tones, raspy rocky vocals, and even growls a couple of times during the record.


Taska’s debut album is a must-have release for the Prog fan, and dare we say, for the Metal fan in general. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this band. The record is a masterpiece that will be hard to beat with a sophomore release. In our book, Taskaha has earned their place among the hall of the Progressive Rock greats.


  1. Mind Date (8:47)
  2. Distressed (5:24)
  3. Reframe! (6:15)
  4. Daylight’s Fading (8:35)
  5. Invisible (5:13)
  6. Eden (8:32)
  7. Nature Girl (6:47)
  8. Friday Night (3:53)
  9. The Climb (13:00)



  • Alex Reis

    Alex is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, born and raised in Curitiba, PR, Brazil, yet living in Antwerp, Belgium, since 2010. AC/DC was his first intro to Rock and Metal, but Metallica and Iron Maiden were the turning point for his love of the genre. Alex has played the guitar since he was 14, and has been an aspiring musician ever since.  Also serving as lead guitarist and vocalist for Belgian/Brazilian Hard Rock outfit SSC, Alex and co. have released a single a few years ago, but are yet to follow with a full-length  release that's been 20 years in the works. When Alex is not writing for MER or making music, he works at the Belgian tech scene, having served as CTO and other technical roles in numerous startups and organizations.

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