What smacks as honest and deeply fascinating about this record is the exuberant infectious energy going into everything. A lot of that is down to Erlend Hjelvic’s brutal but accessibly fun vocal running across every track. It is all wrapped up in a wonderfully warm energetic punk rock vibe where the record never relents, at all; it isn’t a battering, more like a water slide that goes on for 40 minutes; an endless stream of brightly coloured fun tied up in a raucous but still involving lo-fi production that draws the obvious but hitherto-overlooked parallels between punk and black metal out into the sunlight to become a point of discussion. It’s wonderfully inventive to boot, there are riffs on this album straight out of the Blue Cheer playbook, and there’s black metal tremolo picking and everything in between. In a glorious melting-pot of flavours from all across the rock globe and rock history, Kvelertak have made something truly staggering. It’s a black metal punk-rock never-stop fist-punching feet-stomping instant classic that moves at a thousand miles an hour. Everything necessary is taken from each element, from black metal come the vocals and some of the musical elements, successfully separated from the Siamese twin of unlistenability and dull ten minute explorations of nothing. From punk rock comes the speed and good-natured ferocity. From psychedelic rock comes the inherently enjoyable grooviness that will have you up and dancing regardless of your musical bias. It’s truly thunderous and more than just being an album of the year, is one of the few records I’ll still be regularly spinning years and years from now.
Fresh is a word I use a little too often in my other work, but Kvelertak really is fresh. It is the musical equivalent to a windy day, or stepping out of an icy shower or a cold crisp beer. With a single blast it just removes all cynicism, expectation and doubt. You’re in the hands of Kvelertak now, fasten your seatbelts and ensure your seat backs and tables are in their upright and locked positions. Ensure you forget where your nearest exit is because you don’t want to miss a second of what these six Norwegian headcases are about to lay down.
Written under duress by Steven