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Kvelertak Meir Review

Album. Released 2013.  

BBC Review

Eleven tracks of heavy metal excellence from the celebrated Norwegian sextet.

Raziq Rauf 2013

It's been almost three years since Stavanger sextet Kvelertak burst onto the scene with their eponymous debut album, presenting a sound fusing so many different heavy elements together that everyone within earshot had to sit up and take notice.

The lyrics accompanying their black metal-inspired hardcore rock'n'roll were all in Norwegian – but listeners were assured that Erlend Hjelvik was telling us tales inspired by Norse mythology and Viking folklore. So far, so different.

“Meir” translates to “more” – and if this second set found the outfit delivering more of the same, it’d still be a welcome addition to 2013’s rock release calendar. And after just a minute of opener Åpenbaring, it’s clear that Kvelertak have retained the air of uniqueness that characterised this album’s predecessor.

A riff filled with black metal purpose and hip-shaking swagger follows an unholy roar, the whole track unfolding in frantic fashion. Then the stomp- and sing-alongs of Spring Fa Livet and devilish sounds of Trepan and Nekrokosmos bring as much variety to proceedings as they do familiarity.

The powerful rock’n’roll formula of lead single Bruane Brenn is maintained across this album’s length. But variations on the theme and exactly the right kind of embellishments at precisely the right moments ensure that everything sings with individuality.

If you've ever found yourself complaining that genuinely new music is so difficult to find, take note: this band has found their voice, and with it a true identity. The self-titled final track is an ode to their very existence. It's an anthem. This is their sound.

In a nutshell, there is absolutely no sense of Second Album Syndrome here. Meir is an album that will be regarded with such reverence that it’ll be a marker for other acts’ work to be compared to in the future. It is Kvelertak squared, and the sums add up to 11 songs and 49 minutes of heavy metal excellence.

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