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Kvelertak - Splid (Album Review)

Wednesday, 19 February 2020 Written by Huw Baines

Rock and metal fans are used to changes behind the microphone, whether they like them or not. Black Sabbath split with Ozzy, Van Halen said so long to David Lee Roth, and now Kvelertak have added their name to the list. ‘Splid’ is the Norewegian bruisers’ first LP since Ivar Nikolaisen took over from founding vocalist Erlend Hjelvik, and they’ve stuck a difficult landing in some style.

Crucially, they haven’t sought to change too much. Here, Nikolaisen screeches his way through an album that doubles down on Kvelertak’s patented blend of thrash riffage, melodic lead lines and rousing hooks lifted from an alternate dimension where power-pop is played by burly metalheads.

The lead single, Bråtebrann, condenses much of the album’s high-octane appeal. Across seven minutes its flurry of dexterous riffs swirl around Nikolaisen’s full-throated roar and a chorus that gleams with a sense of pomp and circumstance.

Guitarists Vidar Landa, Bjarte Lund Rolland and Maciek Ofstad lose themselves in the track’s thunderous excess, trading licks until the whole thing shudders to a halt.

A couple of songs later Fanden ta Dette Hull! offers what might as well be the band’s mission statement on ‘Splid’. Liberally doused in soaring twin leads and boasting a bone-crushing speed-metal section, the song is a near eight minute masterwork that underlines the confidence with which Kvelertak are operating. 

Following the sludgy heft of the self-produced ‘Nattesferd’, here Kvelertak returned to work with Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou at his GodCity studio, where they made their first couple of LPs. And in going back to the future, they have captured something elemental about their sound.

Those hoping for reinvention, or a shift in musical goals, to match the change in personnel will leave disappointed, but those hoping to see a band making things look easy will quickly fall in love with the brutish power of ‘Splid’.

Kvelertak Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri March 20 2020 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 2
Sat March 21 2020 - BRISTOL SWX
Sun March 22 2020 - LONDON Electric Brixton

Click here to compare & buy Kvelertak Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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