For many years, the Norwegian band Kvelertak have been arguably the most straight-up fun band on the entire metal underground. They’ve got a sound that’s entirely their own: chest-puffed roaring, Motörhead riffage, tremendous singalong hooks, and occasional flashes of classic-rock choogle, all tied to an unrelenting ferocity that splits the difference between black metal and crust punk. That’s an extremely difficult combination to nail. So we’re delighted to report that Kvelertak have announced a new album called Splid — Norwegian for Discord — coming early next year. But you should be advised that it’ll probably sound pretty different this time.
Last year, the band shared the news that longtime singer Erlend Hjelvik had left the band. Hjelvik had one of the world’s greatest growls, so he was going to be tough to replace. But the band did it. Their new singer, as Brooklyn Vegan points out, is Ivar Nioklaisen, formerly a member of the bands Silver and the Good, The Bad, And The Zugly, both of whom toured with Kvelertak. Kvelertak recorded the new album Splid, the follow-up to the all-out 2016 ass-kicker Nattesferd, with Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, who doubles maybe the greatest heavy-music producer currently working, at Ballou’s God City studios in Massachusetts. Mastodon’s Troy Sanders guests on one song. And today, we get to hear the first single, which presents a whole new sound.
On lead single “Båtebrann,” we get to hear Nioklaisen at work. He’s got an impressive growl of his own, one that’s got a higher pitch than what Hjelvik brought to the table. The seven-minute single pushes even further in the classic rock direction that band was moving in on Nattesferd. There’s some Mötley Crüe in their riffage now, and there’s also a big, harmonized chorus that reminds me of Queen or Kansas or something. Nioklaisen introduces the guitar solo by deadpanning, “Ay, guitar, come on!” (It’s also possible that he’s saying, “Air guitar, come one!”) If American rock radio played Norwegian-language music, they might grab ahold of this thing. It’s kind of awesome in its own way, but it’ll take some time to get used to. Check out “Båtebrann” and the new album’s tracklist below.
02 “Crack Of Doom” (Feat. Troy Sanders)
06 “Uglas hegemoni”
07 “Fanden Ta Dette Hull!”
09 “Stevnemøte Med Satan”
10 “Delirium Tremens”
11 “Ved Bredden Av Nihil”
Splid is out 2/14 on Rise Records. Happy Valentine’s Day, motherfuckers!