Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Get ready for summer: crush a brew with Kvelertak

Yeah, I'm a year late on these guys, because when their album came out I saw the John Dyer Baizley artwork and assumed it had to suck. Randomly listened today, and was floored. The idea of splicing some black metal gestures into a hardcore/rock framework is something that doesn't sound appealing to me at all, but somehow it works here.

I think for two reasons. First, Kvelertak clearly aren't attempting to make actual black metal, or--worse--supersede it. They respect the music too much to claim that mantle. Second, they aren't smashing together genres in a compulsive attempt to "do something new." Kvelertak's songs aren't the means to achieving a particular style. They exist purely to fucking rock. But this is an eerie kind of rocking, like the soundtrack to a werewolf rager in the woods...

In "Offernatt," they haven't just seamlessly integrated black metal and rock sections, they've fused the styles at the level of riffing. Listen to the ballsy, strutting verse riff that hits at 00:29. Coming off the greasy leads in the intro, it's easy to hear it and say "blues," but in a different context it could just as easily be the "triumphant" section in some awesome pagan BM song. And then in the chorus, they just fucking lay it down. At 1:26, when one guitar faintly echoes the theme from the verse, the song is flying.

The album is by no means flawless, but it's great fun and contains a few seriously beautiful moments. I'm not saying that Kvelertak are "the future of black metal" or "the future of hardcore," because they aren't, and I'm certainly hoping that nobody tries to rip this off because they'll totally fuck up. Still, someone will probably hate on me for liking this "hipster" band, and to that I say fuck off. Also, I take issue with that label: there's absolutely no indie or art-rock influence in the music. Their sound comes straight from hardcore, metal, and hard-driving rock n roll. It isn't "black n roll," it's heavy punk rock. If you don't like Kvelertak, you don't like headbanging to sick riffs.

Perfect for metalpunks going hiking... or knocking back some beers at a bbq.


  1. This is really excellent and now you've inspired me to do a piece on the melodic death metal equivalent of these guys- from the mid-'90s.

  2. Ugh, I can't stand this band.

  3. @Noktorn: Sick! Looking forward to it. I've always searched for melodeath I could really get down to, because when it's well done (rarely) I dig it a lot as party music.

    @Supreme: I can see how the image and shit would piss some people off, and that's what kept me away in the first place, but now I feel dumb! Weren't you saying before that you appreciated heavy metal values in extreme music? To my mind a facemelting guitar solo and AC/DC riffs fit the bill perfectly... Not trying to convert you or anything though! Ok maybe just a little...