Kvelertak – 'Meir'
If there was an award for the band most likely to induce a bout of uncontrollable fist pumping and head banging then Norway’s Kvelertak would have to be a serious contender. Everything about this band just oozes cool. Their name is Norwegian for “stranglehold”. All lyrics are delivered in Norwegian over a blend hardcore punk, black metal and rock and roll. They boast 4 guitarists (YES FOUR!). And they seemingly don’t give a rat’s arse about any of these things!
Meir (meaning “more”) is the follow up to their much raved about 2010 self-titled debut. Some serious music identities have unashamedly announced themselves as part of camp Kvelertak. Dave Grohl is a massive fan, Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou is the producer on both the debut and this album and Baroness member John Baizley has taken care of the album art for both releases.
The band blends black metal and hardcore (two of the most abrasive music genres around); however they also pile a shit load of melody on top of the bombastic drums, thick guitars and black metal vocals, meaning this album sounds instantly catchy and likeable, even to non-metalheads.
Like its predecessor, the album features a multitude of tracks with mega infectious instrumentation and vocal delivery; however Meir also features a large amount of acoustic guitar flourishes (which were used sparingly on Kvelertak). In line with the apt title the album also features three tracks towards the end of the album that run over six minutes, with the penultimate track on the LP running just under a massive nine minutes! What is even more impressive is that the band manages to make these tracks entirely engaging and possibly some of the strongest they’ve ever produced.
Apart from the three longest jams, opener “A…penbaring” is absolutely massive; building from a single wonderful riff to a thunderous climax. Lead single “Bruane Brenn” boasts a superb chorus (and hilarious music video) but it is the closer “Kvelertak” which is the most likely to cause you to run around the house wrecking shit. It’s just a pure, unbridled metal anthem, with one of the best riffs you are likely to hear anywhere, ever. Treat yourself by checking it out in the link below.
This band is one of the few which I can honestly say will appeal to the masses in spite of their seemingly confronting mix of music styles. And this album showcases them at their rambunctious and rampaging best. Enormously enjoyable album that will be high up on many end of year lists.