Release date: March 26, 2013
The Stavanger, Norway boys are back with their sophomore record, once again produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou. Kvelertak also turned again to Baroness mainman John Baizley for the album cover artwork.
“Meir” marks the band’s debut release for Roadrunner Records whom they just recently signed with. That may be the only real change for Kvelertak who keeps everything else pretty much in line with its 2010 debut eponymous album, including maintaining its vocals in Norwegian.
The band continues its sonic marriage of traditional metal with hardcore punk rock’s bombast and melody and the relentless and aggressive attack and harsh vocals of black metal. Vocalist Erlend Hjelvik takes his cue from the latter rather than the former, offering up something of a nihilistic growl and bellow.
Joining Hjelvik in Kvelertak‘s black and roll party are bassist Marvin Nygaard, drummer Kjetil Gjermundrød and guitarists Vidar Landa, Bjarte Lund Rolland, and Maciek Ofstad. Landa also adds the occasional piano.
“Meir” picks up right where the band’s debut left off, full of energetic melodies and lean riffs, all capped off with howling vocals. Where the debut album was a riotous party, “Meir” amps it all up another notch or three.
The album, much like its predecessor, is of the kitchen sink variety: Rowdy rockers like “Spring Fra Livet”, “Bruane Brenn” and “Kvelertak” are packed in with the blackened, “Trepan” and punk-tinged ethos of “Snilepisk”and “Månelyst”. Then there’s a track like “Nekrokosmos” which brings all these elements together in one raucous, near seven-minute romp.
“Undertro” comes off like Bathory meets Motörhead in a dark alley, driven by a classic riff that could have come off any early Kiss record. Meanwhile, the album’s longest track, the nine-minute beast, “Tordenbrak”, is a melting pot of traditional rock and metal influences overlaid by Hjelvik’s caustic vocal attack.
In all, “Meir” is, in its purest sense, an unabashed celebration of rock and roll. A record packed with unhinged sonic festivity, hard-hitting riffage, and an unending supply of engaging melodies.