They’re called punk and metal, but at their hearts Norwegian berserkers Kvelertak are the living, firebreathing embodiment of rock and roll. Since their formation in 2006, they’ve built a die-hard fan-base hungry for their utterly ferocious live shows that have already burned two flaming tire-tracks across the globe.
“Buzzworthy” doesn’t even begin to describe Kvelertak, and their roll-call of achievements reads like a legend waiting to happen. Their rapturously-received self-titled 2011 debut – produced by none other than Converge’s Kurt Ballou – was termed “the best Norwegian debut of all time” by Norwegian rock authority Asbjørn Slettemark, “Best Debut Album” by Metal Hammer Germany, “Best New Artist” and “Best Rock Album” at the Spellemannprisen (Norway’s Grammy equivalent), and iTunes US’s Metal Breakthrough Artist of The Year in 2011. Along with unanimous praise from Metal Hammer UK, Terrorizer, Rock Hard, and Kerrang! who called them “the most exciting new band on the planet,” Kvelertak – or “chokehold” in English– are showing no signs of slowing down.
From storming 2011’s SXSW festival to being personally invited by Mastodon to support them in Bergen, Norway, to Dave Grohl presenting them with their first gold discs at a sold-out Foo Fighter’s show, this Scandinavian sextet have already circled the globe, hitting every fest from the UK to Australia, including a gig in Singapore that finished out on the street, stopping traffic and ending up as a viral hit on YouTube.
At the core of it, though, is the music – a brew of rock, punk and metal so infectious it should carry a warning label. Look out, world, because their second album, Meir, is on its way.
“It’s like the first one, but way more in every way,” says six-stringer Bjarte Lund Rolland. “The big songs are bigger, the harder songs are harder, the poppy songs are poppier, and…”
“This is going to blow your brains out,” adds singer Erlend Hjelvik, whose riot-inducing vocals may be in Norwegian, but they speak a language of badass bravado like no other. “The first one was pretty much all party; this time around it's the hangover where you go round two and start drinking again the day after. You get drunk real quick and you're generally in a weird fuck-you-all-mood. It's known as the shampoo-effect.”
Call it the shampoo-effect, or one of the most uproarious displays of recorded lunacy of the 21st century, but these Stavanger natives are set to take on the world. Think stunning guitar-leads that recall the heady days of Guns N’ Roses tempered with the down-stroked muscularity of Metallica, with the party-vibes of a rockabilly hoedown, Kvelertak are nothing short of a fjord fiesta.
“The most important thing is that it's just as fucking shameless as the first one,” says Bjarte. If not more. “I'm really excited about it.”
We are too, Bjarte. We are, too.