After such an impressive debut with the self-titled album "Kvelertak" (2010), many listeners became a bit disappointed: "Stranglehold" showed themselves quite slack and the second LP "Meir" (2013), remaining a pretty strong release, only partially was able to repeat the success of its predecessor. So, what about "Nattesferd"? Hopes to hear the same powerful sound and to ensure that the band doesn’t give up were even much greater now. However, if you were really waiting for another "Kvelertak", these six metallers from Oslo are likely to dispel your illusions. Meanwhile, the third album, which came up on May 13 via Roadrunner Records, reveals the new image of the Norwegian band.
The first thing that catches your eye — the number of tracks and timing. "Nattesferd" tracklist became shorter by two songs, but as for the duration, the majority of them are now about five minutes or even more. However, it does not affect the overall listening experiences. The exception, perhaps, may be the unimpressive and a bit tighten track "Dendrofil For Yggdrasil", that opens the album. But from the second song, the musicians draw the listener into a long tunnel of their experiments, which you can pass with the same ease and pleasure of listening. Well, where are those weaknesses?
Critics have repeatedly noted skilful cocktails of genres, which Kvelertak use in their music. But the elements of classic rock, so masterfully combined with hysterical Erlend Hjelvik’s growling, are emphasized first of all. As for the "Nattesferd", similar experiments become the basis of most songs. The musicians willingly perform perky 80s riffs, using much less of those impressive earlier black metal features. A noticeable style transformation began on the second LP, as for "Nattesferd" it also shows the more complete picture of the band’s direction in their search of unique sound. To accept this as the new advantage or disadvantage, let everyone decide for themselves. Kvelertak not only thought about how today legendary Kiss would sound with Paul Stanley’s extreme vocals, but getting their guitars heavier, recorded a very cheerful song "1985".
It is not the first time when Kvelertak’s speed riffs resemble Motörhead. So this is the way the title track "Nattesferd" sounds with its jaunty bass lines. The melodic guitar parts of "Svartmesse" sound like White Lion motifs. "Ondskapens Galakse" are quite similar to some mid-tempo Dio rock songs and the second single "Berserkr", featuring sonorous bass and fast, heavy guitars are kind of Judas Priest. The cheeky motive of "Nekrodamus" become the real black sheep among the band’s songs, perhaps this is an attempt to take something from Led Zeppelin. Each song contains Kvelertak’s traits: vocals, their frequent change of tempos, jumping from distortion sound to acoustics and many other distinctive elements. The new album is quite overloaded with amount of styles what deprives "Nattesferd" of coherence and harmony of the track list.
The lyrics sound in the musicians’ native language and its subjects are still remain gloomy: "Nattesferd" recounts mysticism, the Norwegian mythology, occultism, and even such things as science fiction, which was also reflected on the album’s design. For example, the 9-minute composition "Heksebrann" takes you over "one of the most famous witch burnings in Norway", the singer Erlend Hjelvik commented. The artwork was created by the American artist Arik Roper, known for his work for Sleep and High On Fire.
To sum up, it worth noting that now you are going to try absolutely new image of Kvelertak. Сonsider it in a different way, without any comparisons. Simple as usually, full of madness, energy and pretty interesting ideas. With their third record, the musicians are seeking to go beyond the usual boarders, it turns out they do it quite convincingly.
- Dendrofil For Yggdrasil
- Ondskapens Galakse
By Yuri Somov