Review: Kvelertak “Splid” [Rise Records]

Review: Kvelertak “Splid” [Rise Records]

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Since 2007 when Kvelertak was formed, it gained a lot of attention almost immediately. Well, show me a metalhead, who can be indifferent when he listens to such perky mix of Heavy, Punk and Rock-‘n’-roll, ornamented with Black Metal? Even Papa Het got excited and took the band as an opening act for Metallica in 2017. Not bad for the band that have mostly Norwegian lyrics? And now Kvelertak please their fans with the new album named Splid.

Nattesferd, the band’s previous album was released in 2016; it’s quite a long brake but all this time Kvelertak didn’t just sit back, resting on their laurels. They toured with Ghost, opened for Metallica in their European part of Worldwired Tour and in 2018 their previous vocalist Erlend Hjelvik leaved the band and was replaced by Ivar Nikolaisen. “Quite seamlessly”, according to guitarist Vidar Landa but nonetheless, this change postponed the new album’s release even more.

This line-up change obviously affected the music: now it is less Heavy and much more Punk and Rock-‘n’-roll. Of course this is not quite good news for metalheads but to reassure you, Black Metal elements still presents in Splid. Not a lot but seamlessly woven, to commend the guys.

There are some experiments in the album also. “Crack Of Doom” is Kvelertak‘s rare song with English lyrics featuring Troy Sanders from Mastodon. This mix of Rock-‘n’-roll and Heavy Metal, full of energy and drive, shows the difference between Erlend and Ivar. With Ivar’s vocals the music got the punk’ish mocking attitude (losing its ire, which was inherent to Erlend’s raspy outbursts though). “Tevlend” sounds weird like the band wanted to get back to 80s, and somehow to the New Wave. The chorus adds some heaviness but all in all the song is very “radio friendly”, maybe more like for some 80s radio station. And the most diverse track here is “Delirium Tremens”: it starts slowly and melancholic a bit but then it gain the tempo; riffs become heavier until the song goes to Hard Rock, then to the Black Metal and some kind of Groove in the end.

Well, basically I can’t really say something certain about Kvelertak 2020. Did they record a good album? Let everyone obviously decide for himself. As for me, Splid isn’t exactly what fans were expecting from the band, but I can’t say it’s bad. It’s full of drive and groovy riffs; there are a couple of unexpected things and some Black Metal of course, the band’s thing. So it definitely deserves a chance.

Splid will be released on February, 14th via Rise Records.

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