Kvelertak - Kvelertak
by Zac Boda
This band is fun, like Airbourne... only injected with an overdose of hardcore and inhaled a taste of black metal. If you are unfamiliar with Kvelertak, they released this amazing album last year pretty much everywhere but the USA (beginning with Norway). I had listened to it thanks to the inter-webs and now finally have it for myself. It made my Top 10 of 2010 list, hoping we here in the States would have had it before the close of 2010. We did not; it was officially released here in March 2011 (so there is a good chance you will see this on my Best of 2011). You may ask, Zac is it that good? I would respond, if you get John Baizley (see Baroness) to do your artwork, yes.
Now, I’m not a very big black metal fan. I actually can’t stand most of it (save for Agalloch, Alcest, and Nachtmystium). However when blast-beats, tremolo picking, and screams are added tastefully to well written songs, you have lured me in. Kvelertak have done just that. Combine this with anthem style rock and roll and the aggression of early punk… BAM! quite the addicting elixir. I have greatly enjoyed this album, but here are some tracks I hope you will go check out…
Track two is entitled: Mjød (see video after the jump: http://youtu.be/iDyHhV9UK-4). I believe this to mean mead (similar to what we call beer), which was the alcohol infused drink of choice for our ancient Nordic Viking friends. The big and glamorous intro demands your attention, really brings out their rock influences. This infused with the shouted lyrics, sing-a-long chorus, and punk-like under three minute run-time… turns into a party anthem for the modern world!
Track four is Blood Thirst, or should I say: Blodtørst. I noticed I’ve entered a strange place when shouting a long what means blood thirst to one of the catchiest guitar licks I’ve heard… This should certainly scare the entire horde of little, vampire, twilight fans away. The listener will find hints of acoustic or unplugged strumming and picking hidden in tracks on “Kvelertak”. Blodtørst is a fine example.
“Liktorn” has an overwhelming black metal intro. This may stir a listener away from this particular track, but hang tight; it all comes together throughout the 5:36 runtime. Following this blast-beat you are immersed in looping guitar riff and a drum beat that of a heart. At the two-minute mark, the heart of rock ‘n’ roll comes alive once again. A very well rounded black ‘n’ roll-core song… I take that last line back; I really dislike genre-izing music, especially really good music. It’s just a really killer song.
Finally this review would not be complete without me opinionating on the final track “Utrydd dei Svake”. Leading us in with heavy drums and distorted resonance we find ourselves whirling in syncopation. This grand finale keeps pace with the rest of “Kvelertak” leading up to a climaxed shout a long at 3:14. Following this is a gentle (one word you did not expect to see on this review) release. I think everyone will appreciate the Butch Walker-esque, poppy, acoustic outro. You will not see it coming!
All I can say is I love this record. There are so many catchy licks; it will slip your mind that you are listening to some very aggressive hardcore metal. My only gripe is all lyrics are in Norwegian, and I do not have a translator! From a little research most of the songs are about partying, Norse gods, and mead (they celebrate with it)... The USA release includes some bonus live and demo recordings. I feel these were well worth the wait of release. Give Kvelertak a chance… Let me know if I’m an absolute fool, or if you dig it too. Thanks!
5 out of 5
Ohhh, by the way, if you were wondering what Kvelertak meant… Stranglehold.
Erlend Hjelvik – Vocals
Bjart Lund Rolland – Guitar
Maciek Ofstad – Guitar
Vidar Landa – Guitar
Kjetil Gjermundrød – Drums
Marvin Nygaard - Bass