By: Daniel Jackson
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/05/2016
Label: Roadrunner Records
There’s a lot to dig into with this new album, and plenty of ‘Nattesferd’ shows that Kvelertak can step outside of their normal comfort zone and the results have come up overwhelmingly positive. This album keeps the familiar, and adds new wrinkles throughout, to keep the album from feeling like a rerun. ‘Nattersferd’ is an album from a band still at a creative peak.
‘Nattesferd’ CD//LP//DD track listing:
1. Dendrofil for Yggdrasil
6. Ondskapens Galakse
Erlend Hjelvik | Lead Vocals
Bjarte Lund Rolland | Guitar
Maciek Ofstad | Guitar
Vidar Landa | Guitar
Marvin Nygaard | Bass
Kjetil Gjermundrød | Drummer
Kvelertak caught the world completely off guard in 2010. They’d put together a sound we hadn’t really heard before. It was black metal, punk, and classic rock melted together into something unique and undeniably fun. A ton of people understandably lost our minds about their debut, and it’ll likely be remembered as one of the great metal-related debuts of the decade. The follow up, ‘Meir’, was met with a bit more of a mixed reaction. Some felt it was a case of diminishing returns for a phenomenal original idea, and others thought it was every bit as good as its predecessor. Still, for some, the bloom was already off the rose.
That brings us to the present day, as Kvelertak return with album #3, ‘Nattesferd’. To be clear from the start: anyone who listens to this album and thinks Kvelertak are out of ideas needs to listen again, and actually pay attention this time. Do the band use certain stylistic elements from the first album as a foundation? Yes, of course they do. So do most bands this early into their discography. But the way they implement those stylistic traits has changed substantially over the course of six years.
If the album has any problem at all, it’s that it might have benefited some from stricter editing. “1985”, the album’s first single would have been even more effective at a minute or two shorter, and “Heskebrann” is too long at nine minutes. Then again, the first two albums would probably benefit from the same virtue, in retrospect. But, when an album’s biggest issue is giving us too much of a good, thing, it’s hard not to call it an artistic success.
It’s been an absolute joy to experience as Kvelertak have sharpened their song writing skills over the last half decade. The album’s opening track, “Dendrofil for Yggdrasil”, showcases the band’s penchant for speedy black metal with major key twists and a nod to the quirkiness of the Moonfog-style guitar work. “Nattesferd” is a major highlight, which sees the band work a song in the vein of “Spring Fra Livet” from ‘Meir’ and shape it to fit the framework of some the faster songs from Queens of the Stone Age’s “Songs for the Deaf”. “Nekrodamus” sticks out, at least in the Kvelertak discography, for having a laidback, older Witchcraft feel to it, showing the band doesn’t want or need to over-rely on keeping things uptempo in order to be satisfying.
The point is, there’s a lot to dig into, and plenty of ‘Nattesferd’ shows that Kvelertak can step outside of their normal comfort zone and the results have come up overwhelmingly positive. This album keeps the familiar, and adds new wrinkles throughout, to keep the album from feeling like a rerun. ‘Nattersferd’ is an album from a band still at a creative peak.
You can pick up a digital, CD or LP copy here.
Band info: Facebook