14 March 2013
Electric Ballroom, London
Kvelertak are undoubtedly the flavour of the month but it’s 100% deserved. This was my seventh time seeing them since my first encounter at the tiny Strongbow Stage at Sonisphere 2010. Four of those covered on this site: CLICK FOR PAST REVIEWS. At all those shows they’ve failed to disappoint and when you consider the number of shows and tours they have put in, it has hardly been handed to them on a silver plate. This all seems a bit defensive but I’m more than happy to fight in Kvelertak’s corner against those that have already started knocking them for having a whiff of success.
The Electric Ballroom felt like a big jump forward for the Norwegians and whilst it wasn’t sold out it was very reasonably busy. Whilst waiting at the back for Johan to shoot the first three songs, it’s obvious quite a few are here based on the positive hype and a group in front of me leave before Johan had returned, one muttering, “I don’t get this.” Kvelertak can hardly be defined as easy listening and good luck singing along with the Norwegian lyrics correctly.
The band’s self-titled debut was my favourite album of 2010. Tonight the set features eight songs from that disc and it’s no surprise the crowd at the front goes bonkers for them. Mjød, Fossegrim and Blodtørst are the pick of the bunch in terms of response and even after all the times they must have now been played the band retain the ability to make them sound urgent.
However, this tour precedes the release of the band’s sophomore release Meir. The English translation is More and based on the seven songs played from it tonight, it’s an apt title on more than one level. There is no major reinvention of the band’s sound, hence more of the same, though perhaps a bit more melody judging from Bruane Brenn; but then Spring fra livet offers more speed. Often a gig can lull with a large selection of new unreleased material, but tonight never does and whet the appetite for the album’s release.
In terms of stage performance, the band have no problems with a larger stage. In fact is likely a blessing considering there are six of them. A svelter looking Erlend Hjelvik led the charge, arriving on stage with the band’s mascot owl on his head and barely standing still throughout the set. Though to be fair, that could be said about the entire band aside from Kjetil Gjermundrød who would probably have joined them if he wasn’t constrained by manning the drums.
So once again Kvelertak hit the spot and I can’t wait to get hold of Meir and see them once again.
Åpenbaring / Spring fra livet / Mjød / Fossegrim / Ulvetid / Bruane Brenn / Nekrokosmos / Sjøhyenar (Havets herrer) / Evig Vandrar / Nekroskop / Månelyst / Offernatt / Blodtørst / Kvelertak / Utrydd dei svake