KVELERTAK - Kvelertak

Kvelertak - Kvelertak

11 songs
48:38 minutes
***** *****


I always approach Norwegian punk rock bands with a great sense of reluctance, as too many content themselves with emulating the successful formula introduced by Turbonegro. As everyone knows, a copy can never achieve the same cult factor as the original, so that very often we are left with a possibly nice but altogether lacklustre effort.

Therefore I was more than just pleasantly surprised by the eponymous debut album by Kvelertak, a sextet from Norway’s west coast. A band that has three guitarists promises already a lot of energy, and in this case, they definitely don’t fail the expectations. If you have to describe Kvelertak’s music as concisely as possible, you could say that they sound like Turbonegro with a black metal approach, but that doesn’t of course do them justice.

What strikes from the start is the utterly perfect production by Kurt Ballou (Converge) who took care to retain all the nuances despite the hard hitting musicianship. The guitars are often unleashing tirades of aggression, the vocalist is spitting his lyrics with a venomous sense of annihilation, and the rhythm section leaves nothing to desired. Kvelertak are smart enough to often cut back on the pace and switch to more monumental parts that show that they are not that unlike bands like Baroness or Mastodon. It’s this schizophrenic wandering between punkish blackened metal and muscular heavy rock that makes this band so unique. On the slower parts, the guitarists don’t deny their love for Thin Lizzy, which sometimes adds a welcome Seventies feeling to the music. Even the nearly constant angry vocals fit the general mood of the album.

The songs come with Norwegian lyrics, but that shouldn’t deter you from enjoying every single minute of this genial debut album. There are highlights aplenty, like Fossegrim, Blodtørst or the impossibly great Sultans Of Satan, that should get you hooked instantly on this superb band. I rarely give the maximum rating, but Kvelertak leave me no other choice!

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