Album review: Kverlertak – “Meir”

Norway…… The land of Scandinavian black metal, prevalent  church burnings and a little band called Turbonegro.

With these native cultural and musical elements encompassed into recording sessions, Norway’s own Kvelartek is able to launch more fury at heavy music community worldwide with their latest offering entitled “Meir” which hit record stores worldwide on 3/25/13 via Roadrunner Records and will be released on vinyl 4/9/2013 courtesy of Norway’s Indie Recordings.

Kverlatek’s style mixes both hardcore punk chord strucuture, frantic black metal blast beats and dual harmonies coinciding with a vocal structure that always keep pace throughout “Meirs” 11 tracks of blistering aggression. They leave no room for the listener to abosrb what they’re hearing until well after the album ends, relentless assault throughout.

“Meir” also marks the return of the band’s collaboration with notable heavy music engineer Kurt Ballou (Converge) who also sat behind the production helm and assisted in shaping the sound of their self titled debut back in 2011.

Another key return for the Kvelertak camp is the involvement of Savanna, GA based artist John Dyer Baizley (Baroness) who is responsible for their stunningly detailed illustrations used for their album covers.  Cover illustration used for “Meir” below.

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“Meir’s” attitude is a definite continuation from where Kverlertak left off in 2011. With the three man guitar assualt consisting of Vidar Landa, Bjarte Lund Rolland and Maciek Ofstad, they blend the ripping chord interchanges of Darkthrone, the heavy hooks and catchiness of Turbonegro and the dual solo harmonies of Iron Maiden. Tracks like Spring Fra Livet (translated Run From Life) showcase the whole bands talents from staying tight during random progressions to blending elements of black metal with anthem like hooks that translate into an overall 3:25 minutes of overall energy from start to finish.

Vocalist Erlend Hjelvik’s voice matches so well with the energy throughout the album, he’s full force from start to finish. Even on mellower tracks that have acoustic arrangements (i.e. Evig Vandrar, Snilepisk and the single Bruane Brenn) his voice shatters the acoustic arrangements and gives cue to the heaviness that ensues the listener.

To summarize this album, it’s one of the great new pieces of heavy music to come into 2013. This band has accomplished a lot for themselves in only six years of existence (worldwide tours, festival appearances, gold award presentation by Dave Grohl in their hometown etc) and they’re only getting started on US audiences, even after considerable praise by fans from their festival appearance in Austin TX back in November (I was there, they ruled and everyone else I got drunk with thought so as well).

Damn, Turbonegro releases Sexual Harassment only some months ago and now this……….Scandinavia is coming on strong!!

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