Kvelertak and their formula of ‘tongue in cheek black pop metal’ is a winning one
For those unfamiliar with Kvelertak, the name is Norwegian for ‘stranglehold’, all the lyrics are in Norwegian and they have a famous fan in Dave Grohl. The black metallers also aren’t exactly known for taking themselves too seriously. In a sub genre which contains many bands, each trying to look more wicked and dastardly than the other, Kvelertak have brought a bit of fun into their work, especially on new album Nattesferd.
Opener Dendrofil for Yggdrassil begins in expected bulldozing territory, with double bass and cymbal crashing galore. The album and band in general have a real DIY feel about them, and they sound like a real cohesive six-piece unit.
While they initially sound dark, it’s second track 1985 which sounds like it’s from, well, 1985. Like a cross between a death metal Van Halen and Bowling For Soup, 1985 is a glorious pop song with Erland Hjelvik’s screaming vocals giving it that sinister edge. That classic 80’s metal with death metal make-up doesn’t let up with the title track which is taken straight out of the book of Motorhead. If he’d hung around long enough to hear this one, Lemmy would have been proud.
Svartmesse has an opening chugging riff that almost sounds like Destiny’s Child/Stevie Nicks and ends up sounding a little like the band Rainbow. Beserkr which is named after the ancient Norse warriors, sounds as furious and confrontational as the title suggests, just in case you were getting a little tired of good-time vibes throughout the album. Heksebrann combines the best of the album into 9 minutes, soothing acoustic guitars, melodic backing vocals all driven by some throbbing bass.
Nekrodamus round the album off in safe sludgy territory but with a groovy backbeat. What’s cool about Kvelertak is not only the way they have appealed to an international audience despite (or perhaps because of) the language barrier, but how fun they are. If you have that appeal, the audience will go nuts for it and on Nattesferd, this formula of tongue in cheek black pop metal is a winning one.
This Kvelertak article was written by Daniel Luscombe, a GIGsoup contributor