Company: Roadrunner Records Release: 2013 Genre: Mixed Reviewer: ChaosLord
An aural assault
Sweden's Kvelertak is somewhat of a metal enigma. Trying to define them is like trying to talk string theory to a 5 year old. The band's sound is a conglomeration of so many styles that you can't label them as a specific brand of metal. Think of Emperor, Mastodon and Ghost having a baby and then throw in some folk music and heavy, traditional riffs and you barely begin to scratch the surface.
The bands newest opus, "Meir" continues to show the band's ability to blend so many styles and have a sound all their own. From the slow, rolling start of the opening track "Apenbaring" that then kicks in to full-fledged metal, all the way through to the end track "Kvelertak", the album constantly sends you twisting and turning through a constant changing metalscape. From black metal style blast beats to melodic, haunting melodies, there's something for everyone on this album.
The best way I can describe listening to this album is this: It's an acid trip that would cause good ol' Sid Vicious to jump out of his coffin, go absolutely mad and then hop back in with a smile on his face. I've never heard anything quite like this before. It's an album that must be listened to through headphones to be able to appreciate all the elements that the band puts into each song. You have hauntingly soft acoustic pieces that are then immediately replaced with cannon blasting drums and riffs that jolt you from your head to your toe.
The lyrics are all in Swedish which is kind of cool because even though I have no idea what in the hell they are saying, I'm still trying to sing along with them. There are songs like "Evig Vandrar" that will have you throwing the horns and banging your head like a true metal head. The vocals range from a style similar to that of Mastodon mixed with Ihsan from Emperor. You can tell these lads have a vast appreciation for black metal but don't want to be mired in the hole of being just that.
"Meir" is an aural assault that leaves you wanting more and makes you scratch you head as though you entered some strange alternate metal universe. Any fan of metal should pick this album up and listen to it as there is a bit of everything on here. I would really love the chance to catch these dudes live.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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