Kvelertak – “1985”

Kvelertak – “1985”

The Norwegian sextet Kvelertak defy easy categorization or comparison: Their music is rooted in d-beat and black metal, but it draws more from Thin Lizzy and AC/DC than Discharge or Darkthrone. It’s music for driving, or drinking, or dancing. It’s party music, basically: hard-rock bangers that boost adrenaline with a layered three-guitar assault kicking out blues-rawk and power-pop riffs over which frontman Erlend Hjelvik delivers a sweaty, impassioned, raspy roar. The band’s first two albums, 2010’s Kvelertak and 2013’s Meir, are both 100-percent essential, and Kvelertak are set to release their third, Nattesferd, later this year. It’s about time! Today, the band deliver Nattesferd’s first single, “1985,” via NPR. According to a statement from the band, the song’s title refers to a setting much more ominous than the tone implied in the music:

Think of George Orwell’s 1984 instead of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Its lyrics depict a cold and (not so) distant future where technology and surveillance have erased all forms of individuality and critical thinking. Needless to say, everything was better before — can somebody hit the rewind button already?

The lyrics are in Norwegian, so who knows if that’s an accurate depiction of their meaning, but the 1985 I’m hearing here is the same one that brought us classic albums from a range of metal bands: from Megadeth to Mötley Crüe, Kreator to Twisted Sister. It was the year that both Guns N’ Roses and Carcass were formed. It was a pretty fucking good year for metal. It didn’t exactly sound like this, but man, this is how it felt.

Nattesferd is out 5/13 via Roadrunner Records.

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