Kvelertak – Splid
Four years have passed since Norwegian rockers Kvelertak released their third album “Nattesferd” and as you all know good things supposedly come to those who wait, so let’s find out if this is true with the bands brand new record “Splid”.
First of all, things have changed with Kvelertak since the last album. Long time frontman Erlend Hjelvik left the band and was replaced with Ivar Nikolaisen. This isn’t really a problem – at least not vocally, I haven’t seen them live with Ivar though – but I must say that I still prefer Erlends style a bit more. Both are good of course, but for me personally, the loss of Erlend was a little step back.
Second of all, Kverlertak has started to gain worldwide notoriety since opening for bands such as Ghost and even Metallica on major tours. A lot of people have opened their eyes and ears to the unique styles of the two time “Spellemannprisen”-winners (Norwegian Grammys). This of course puts them in a position where they no longer can be the underdog and surprise people by striking from the bottom so to speak. Now, people are starting to really expect things, so this is Kverlertaks first album as a big band if you ask me.
Musically, you can tell right away with the opening track “Rogaland” that Kvelertak have not changed their recipe for success. It’s still that amazingly diverse mix of both rock, metal and punk all molded into a delicious mix. One of the most impressive things with Kvelertak is how they manage to mix so many styles without sounding like they don’t know what the hell they want or something. Even though the drastic changes may seem chaotic at times, there is never any doubt regarding Kvelertak knowing exactly what they are doing with their music. On just “Fanden Ta Dette Hull” they go through so many genres of music it’s bound to be confusing, but these guys really pull it off.
Kvelertak have also started to sing a bit in English, for example together with Troy Sanders of Mastodon in “Crack Of Doom”, but I must say I personally prefer Norwegian. However, I do understand the choice of using a bit more accessible language to reach a wider audience.
For me, the self titled debut album from 2010 is the big Magnum Opus from Kvelertak, since it besides the overall super cool mix of rock & roll and extreme metal, also contained so many killer tracks. This is something I miss on “Splid”. Even if the album is really good and musically impressive, it lacks these major hits like “Mjød”, “Blodtørst”, “Fossegrim” or maybe “Bruane Brenn” from “Meir”. Songs like “Bråtebrann”, “Uglas Hegemoni”, “Tevling” and “Delirium Tremens” are still high class rock songs, but no matter what you can’t help to compare with previous work.
Even if I miss Erlend and perhaps a few ten out of ten songs, it is still very uplifting to see how Kvelertak can continue doing exactly what they want with their music and not conforming to what is expected from a now major rock band. They do their thing like always and the result is a musical journey that definitely has something to offer almost anyone.
So to sum it up; not their best effort, but without a doubt a very good thing for all of us who waited.
Label: Petroleum Records
Date of release: 14/2-20
Stand out track: Tevling