Kvelertak, Meir

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 07.15.13 in Reviews



Metal typically exists in a kind of “either/or” dichotomy: either bands are grinding and infernal or they’re triumphant and anthemic. The Norwegian group Kvelertak is strictly “both/and.” Their scorching second record Meir pairs the bludgeoning brutality of bands like Cannibal Corpse Rotting Christ with the kind of sugary hookiness typically found on an album by Andrew W.K. “Manelyst” is the perfect example: It opens with a barrage of barnstorming chords, a terrifying asteroid shower of sound, before cruising up into a refrain that’s practically singable, sounding like something from the Rocket From the Tombs catalog, if someone set vocalist John Reis on fire. “Burane Brenn” opens full-hurtle, frontman Erlend Hjelvik’s wrecked-larynx howls offset by a holler-along soccer-anthem chorus. Kvelertak ride AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” right to its fiery end, and stage a never-ending kegger amid the flames.