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Album Review: Kvelertak - 'Meir'

3 April 2013 | 12:09 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Scandinavian punk/metal party tunes.

Kvelertak frontman Erlend Hjelvik doesn’t hesitate. When talking to, the musician affirms the band’s new album is “shameless.” It’s confident, succinct and highly reflective of a group that actually embodies an overused cliché – they play by their own rules.

Sophomore album ‘Meir’ has a lot to live up to. There’s hype, there’s interest and there’s an impressive debut that grabbed every listener by the proverbial and demanded attention.

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This full-length is more rock inspired, but don’t let the bulk of the musical façade deter, this is still fast, persistent and unpredictable. It’s heavy but in a slightly altered form. Sure Norway has the excessive corpse paint-wearing contingent to always fall back on, but this punk/metal crossover is simply refreshing. Yes, Turbonegro put the flag into the ground first, but Kvelertak appear and sound like the type of band you want to align your musical tastes with.

Openers ‘Apenbaring’ and ‘Spring Fra Livet’ are sharp, but perhaps don’t offer that early punch. ‘Trepan’ quickly gets back to the dense, dirty Kvelertak sound that made the self-titled predecessor so strong. The subtle eighth note rhythm middle-to-late in the track foreshadowing the slightly laidback approach on this one.

However, it’s ‘Bruanne Brenn’ when things truly take off. Perhaps the year’s best video (it’s April and probably will still be a clear frontrunner at year’s end) is matched by an equally engaging track filled with musical substance and infectious flare. We have no idea what the band are singing in unison, but it’s catchy as fuck…there aren’t dials high enough on the stereo.

There’s a sense of competing duality throughout. ‘Evig Vandrar’ is almost folksy in the initial stages, with a mid-tempo approach. ‘Manelyst’ would’ve sat comfortably within the track listing of the self-titled debut. While ‘Nekrokosmos’, clocking in at over six minutes begins in humble fashion before becoming perhaps Kvelertak’s heaviest track written. ‘Undertro’ reeks of dark rock ‘n’ roll.

The beauty of Kvelertak is most isolated and individual songs are diverse in themselves. They transition and mix it up. While there’s contrast from track-to-track, each respective song contains moments of sustained pace that then moves back to a different style.

A bit like Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, at times there doesn’t necessarily feel like a need for three guitarists, but equally you get the impression without the trio, the sound would appear hollow and unfulfilled.

No real need for an ideal, all encompassing summary line. Kvelertak rule. Australian tour, please?!

‘Meir’ achieves its primary external objective – it continues and justifies the praise and reputation studio album number one created. Maybe there could’ve been a bit more on offer here, but the band sound comfortable and the music closely matches.

1. Apenbaring

2. Spring Fra Livet

3. Trepan

4. Bruane Brenn

5. Evig Vandrar

6. Snilepisk

7. Manelyst

8. Nekrokosmos

9. Undertro

10. Tordenbrak

11. Kvelertak