Norwegian blackened rock ‘n’ rollers Kvelertak draw inspiration from the rawness of black metal but their sound is nowhere near as austere as all that. These guys are really more like a latter day answer to Mötorhead’s ambiguous mixture of punk and metal and there’s some of the anarchic energy of Norway’s Turbonegro in there too. And then there’s the tambourine-facilitated shake and rattle of songs like “Mjød,” that would make the Stooges proud. But the septet is absolutely a band of the present day, with the insane force and virtuosity of this post-hardcore era.
Their blackness shows in their spirit more than anything else. Well, okay, it shows in their spirit and in the blood soaked music video for “Mjød.” But it’s softened, at least musically, by a romantic majesty similar to that of the US’s Baroness. Essentially, these guys surveyed all that rocked in the past several decades of music, took what they wanted and burned the rest.
Now, for a band that reps such an infamous genre as black metal, they’ve been getting a surprising amount of kudos from outside the cult. Kvelertak gets national airplay in Norway and they were nominated for two prestigious Spellemann awards. The band also received a Statoil grant, which is awarded to help promising young bands succeed internationally, and “Mjød” was single of the week for twice in a row on the UK’s BBC Radio. It’s a testament to their unstoppable righteousness that they get so much love abroad while singing in their native Norwegian.
Photo by Mads Maurstad