You’re going to love this record and not understand a word of it. Er, probably not anyway.
Meir, the sophomore release from Norwegian hardcore band Kvelertak, is something more than the self-titled effort released three years ago.
Let’s clear up one thing. Reading the band’s name is easy but what happens when you have to tell your friend about them (because inevitably you will)? It’s pronounced “kuh-vell-er-tack.” See? Pronounced exactly how it looks. Don’t let the foreign words confuse you.
You can’t. Otherwise, forget listening to Meir. The whole album is sung (or perhaps more accurately, screamed) in Norwegian.
While the prior album was a hardcore eyebrow-raise, Meir does exactly what “kvelertak” means—it puts you in a chokehold. Meir took all the superior ingredients from the prior album—a la recording with Kurt Ballou (Converge) at GodCity Studios, having Baroness’ John Baizley make artwork and making a racket unlike any other band—and exploded and exploited them.
Ah, Norway’s music scene: a rich tradition of burning churches because to hell with it, we are Vikings! Kvelertak take the sound of their brethren without all the antics (like stabbings and arsons) by dabbling with black metal sounds that any non-corpse-paint-wearer can understand.
Folklore, what’s up? The band now sounds like a combination of hardcore with black metal (“Spring Fra Livet,” “Nekrokosmos” and “Trepan”) intros and (oddly) a Baroness-esque groove (“Åpenbaring”).
So round 2 with Ballou and Baizley and backed by a deal with Roadrunner– let’s do this Scandinavia.
Truthfully when it comes to songs, I don’t know what I’m singing or even if I’m pronouncing it correctly. But it just doesn’t matter. If “Bruane Brenn” isn’t the catchiest song you have heard in a while, you’re deaf, period.
While it is my normal belief through reviews that I think the music scene itself is saturated with crap, the fact that: a Norwegian band that sings completely in their native tongue is signed by a major label, and has one very respected scenes-man to produce the record and gets another scenes-man to make beautifully and well-recognized artwork…if this isn’t special, I don’t know what is.