A strange surprise ends up in my email yet again, sent from non other than the Brujo at the top, the AndroidVirus himself. In that wonderful way he has of sending me things to review without any information on said band whatsoever, all I knew of this album was what he had told me: “They’re Norwegian, play a unique form of black metal/punk/rock-n-roll, and I guarantee it’s not really like anything you’ve ever heard before.” *(I hear that from a lot of people, and it’s usually just a stroke-off from those who all usually sound the same – – – go figure.)
So I did a little homework and found out that KVELERTAK are from Stavanger, Norway, and that their name translates into “chokehold,” and that they’ve been around since 2007 to the present, and MEIR *(Norwegian for “More”) is the second of two full-lengths they’ve released since 2010, with a handful of singles and eps here and there. Also, all their lyrics are in Norwegian, so thematically I can only go by what the music and presentation itself tells me. MEIR was recorded and produced by Kurt Ballou of CONVERGE, in Salem, Massachusetts, and the albums intensely beautiful artwork was done by John Dyer Baizley of BARONESS.
*(Enough fukking details, already – – – what about the music?) Alright you impatient fukks, onto the music, then. KVELERTAK’S sound is this completely unique conflagration of mid-tone black metal, classic punk, crossover/thrash breakdowns, and at times straight-up rock-n-roll, all presented as a mixed dish of melancholic anthems overflowing with *(what I can only guess are) bleak nihilism *(as all lyrics are in Norwegian – – – no help, guys, no help – – – though I will admit it does add) and an end-times/apocalyptic feel. I can easily say it’s one of the better metal albums I’ve heard in a bit due to it’s making a monolithic masterpiece of mayhem, and very different sort of almost prog-thrash *(not how you’re thinking, trust me), through the simplicity of their base ingredients, all mixed to a fine and interesting concoction of strangely attractive aural poisons. While there is somewhat of a formula to the songwriting itself, it seems *(and really, isn’t most all songwriting formula to some degree, whether on a large mainstream or small, personal scale?), it all works in the end, each song being equal parts black metal blasts and punk rock drives that culminate in anthemic rock-n-roll fist-pump authority. It’s all actually fairly spectacular, as darkness and a certain light seem to be at a constant clash, and the production hones it all down to a pummeling, yet entertaining, wall of sound – – – there’s plenty of strange ambiance thrown in for good measure and it only serves to enhance the thick thunder their lightning-flash playing leaves in its blinding wake.
I can honestly say this is a metalpunk album spewing sounds in such a way the likes of which I’ve never heard before. It’s almost like the bastard child of ENTOMBED and the PLASMATICS. Pick up and check out MEIR by KVELERTAK – – – recommended for fans of black metal, punk, rock-n-roll, and those looking for straight up brutality, as well. No soundscapes, no unnecessary instrumental wankery, just a solid eleven songs that kick you in the teeth then proceed to skin you alive, from the opening track “Apenbaring” to the deathlike finality of “Kvelertak.” Buy this record. *(I gotta hand it to the AndroidVirus, he’s got “the ear,” as I call it, like a motherfukker.)
For more on KVELERTAK:
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org