Label: Sony Music
Three similar bands: Meshuggah/Mastodon/AC/DC
Rating: HHHHHHH (6/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. Åpenbaring
2. Spring Fra Livet
3. Trepan
4. Bruane Brenn
5. Evig Vandrar
6. Snilepisk
7. Månelyst
8. Nekrokosmos
9. Undertro
10. Tordenbrak
11. Kvelertak

Erlend Hjelvik (Vocals)
Vidar Landa (Guitar & piano)
Bjarte Lund Rolland (Guitar)
Maciek Ofstad (Guitar & vocals)
Marvin Nygaard (Bass)
Kjetil Gjermundrød (Drums)

S/T (2010)

Ashley Redshaw (backing vocals)

John Dyer Baizley (art)
Kurt Ballou (mixing & production)
Alan Douches (mastering)
Recorded at GodCity Studios in Salem, Massachusetts, US

Released 2013-03-25
Reviewed 2013-04-10


Norwegian Kvelertak has putted a really nice cover on their 'MEIR'. They've also picked a really nice song to start the album. However, after that it goes a bit downhill for this album…

Kvelertak has played together for six years and this is the second album they've done in that time. they've made great success in Norway with a third place on the album charts already with their first album and then a first place with this album. I can't really understand how they've managed to do that considering how their music sounds - it's really not commercial. At all. Instead we have an album that's a kind of mixture of all kinds of extreme metal. We have some of the really extreme, some of the progressive extreme, some of the melodic extreme, some of the primitive extreme and then some other extreme as well. The mix has probably been done through some sort of giant blender because the cover almost looks like the art of a juice box with flowers, dead birds and a naked lady. And a deatil I can't help notice is that the naked girl have something white and gooey in her hair… I wonder about that one actually...

Anyway, back from art school and lets focus on the music. I said the album goes downhill after the first song and that's unfortunately the way the album is. But it goes back up again as well. The second, third, fourth and partly also fifth track are in my opinion the worst songs on the album. It's not that they are particularly bad or anything, they just take a few more runs to get in to and even then they feel pretty much less interesting than the rest. Somewhere around track six and forward is where the album goes back to being really interesting and they continue like that and only getting more interesting the further in to the album you get. The last song have the same name as the band and if your Norwegian isn't what it should be then I can tell you that Kvelertak means "strange hold" in English and that's a quite suiting name for a song that can make you lose your breath. I can see why it has the same name as the band - it's a really great song!

'MEIR' then - is that a really good album? Well, It took me a while to get my head around this album because even though it's a great album, especially in it's best moments it still has a few tracks that just aren't that great. I mean, they don't suck or anything but they aren't as good as the rest and they took quite a lot of time to even sound decent to me. I can't really say why these songs isn't as appealing as the rest but I think it has something to do with all the blastbeats and that really rapid tempo they play with. The melodies gets a bit lost in an ocean of mostly shouting and instrumental hammering. I prefer the more melodic tracks on the album because Kvelertak really knows how to make fantastic melodies and they are also really good musicians, something you can't avoid hearing as soon as they're not stuck in that rapid instrumental hammering. The guitars have the leading role on the album and dominates the sound along with the drums, but then there are three guitarists in the band so it's not strange that they have a prominent position. And they are quite impressing, so also the drums.

The vocals are made of mostly guttural growling and violent shouting but they can even bring out some more restrained vocals when they lower the tempo and goes a bit softer and that's something I don't see as anything but positive. The first single of the album is called Bruane Brenn and it's one of those tracks I have a bit more of a struggle to really like because it's a bit chaotic with all the tempo changes and shifts in melody and sound structure. It has a good chorus but doesn't seem to get somewhere otherwise and that's a bit of a shme because with that chorus it could really have been something. (if you haven't heard the track you can see the video in the bottom of the review). If I didn't mention it above I'd also like to mention that the band have Norwegian lyrics, which is a bit fun.

Anyway, back to the overall opinion. Before I motivate my score I'd really like to make a few things clear when it comes to this album and Kvelertak. For starters it should be very clear that 'MEIR' isn't an album that will work for everyone. The music is very hard and heavy and pretty progressive as well - so we're not even close to the simple sounds of Iron Maiden or Coldplay here. With that said I'd like to give some credit to the production of the album that really brings out the power and identity of the band and this helps the band get even better in the best songs. And the best songs are indeed really good! The peaks are really high and the only real problem I see with the album is that it's a bit too inconsistent in style. The way the album sprawls all over makes really big difference between tracks and therefore they'll always have a few tracks that won't address you as much as the others - at least they have a few that isn't addressing me as much as the others and I'd be surprised if you don't feel the same. Perhaps not about the same songs, but probably about some of them.

In it's best moments I'd say 'MEIR' is the best album of the year, and it's really not a competetion about it either. It's an album that's definitely going warm in the fans of this kind of metal, probably for many, many years. I may not love everything they do on this album but I'd be surprised if this doesn't get considered as a modern classic within extreme hard rock.



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