Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kvelertak : " Meir"

For an band whose name means chokehold, this album really lets you up for air. The biggest change is in the production, there is a much slicker and less raw sound to this album the guitars don't' hold any more grit than say some one like Kings of Leon. It isn't until the third song that I am really convinced of any aggression. I was even more surprised when I learned Converge's Kurt Ballou produced this, if this album was half as gritty as the last Converge album there would be a big difference, though come to think of it the last Converge wasn't as gritty as they have been so maybe almost as gritty.

"Apenbaring" Or Revelation is to the point almost though there's a cool riff in it nothing has time to develop and transition. The intro riff is cool but by the time the song really kicks in almost two minutes into it the song is over its verse, blast into chorus that's almost a little too MySpace emo then were done , like a half of a song.

"Spring Fra Livet" the guitar tones are so bright and ringing it reminds me of Liturgy.then there's the Kings of Leon type groove they saddle up to. They guitar mix on this song I particular is weird. Over production seems to have brightened the heaviness out at first. While there is tremolo picking this doesn't feel like black metal but rather a really upbeat Sliversun Pickups song that someone came in and screamed over, with a country outro.

"Trepan" is the first heavy song on the album, it's impact is somewhat diminished by the high treble guitar tone, everything needs more bottom to it as its over compressed to the point of sounding like Def Leppard' Hysteria album. Not to say the instruments aren't well played they are and the songs go some interesting places. It's really a guitar players album for the sense of the playing but the tones are so thin, a metal player would have some objections.

Guitar heroic surface on the single " Bruane Brenn". There is no way around the fact this album is way more rock n roll than it is metal. There is even Days of the New sounding acoustic guitar that leads into "Evig Vandrar" which sounds like Jet like boogie with screaming over it. This is a very well written song and the guitar tone begins to improve on this.The more punk sung vocals on the chorus feel like Queens of the Stone Age to me, in their phrasing. I think the fact this album is not sung in English helps diminish this fact. The very free bird like guitar melody in the songs third quarter the tone improves in the lead channel. Like the first album they still throw a lot at you I think the production looses e bulk of the chaos in translation.

"Evig Vandrar" or eternal wanderer starts like the Kenny Wayne Sheppard radio hit. The guitars thicken and hit a bluesier shuffle that resembles the White Stripes on meth. There are some cool harmony guitar parts buried here and there that come up for air. The vocal delivery from their front man remains the same but the backing vocals are more melodic. There are moments where it sounds like he is attempting to scream actual notes making it one of the albums stronger songs.

"Snilepisk" is more akin to stuff from the first album as its briskly paced and punk tinged, the black metal parts seem obligatory rather than the first album where they blended more organically,There is a middle eastern guitar melody which even seems more natural than the blast beat. "Manelyst" or moonlight, pretty straight forward and driven almost to a fault and one of the transitions makes it seem like this was a snag that didn't make the cut for the first album and I think is the only song that was too much same old same old and bored me.

"Nekrokosmos" shines a light little on what the problem with this album as been for me which is e lack of grit on things that might have sounded heavier not played different but produced different. The blast beats feel a little more at home here. I like the breakdown at around the two minute mark it goes into a groove that really redeems the song for me. There are some Mastodon moments here for me , maybe if Mastodon was into black metal and not thin Lizzy and rush but maintained some of the seventies beer rock influences that crept into some of their hooks. The playing I think might have even stepped up a level on this album,I hear evidence of it on this song. I think trying to capture the more Ambiant nature of black metal isn't as effective for them I the mood they create As a whole however it's pulled off on this song.

"Undertro" has some straight up AC/DC moments.Sure there's more chug to it than Angus Young would use.The chords in the bridge have a cool dissonance to them before the Ac/dc moments begin at a minute and a half. There are also elements of this album that remind me of Shining's last album. The bass playing is more straight toward on this album which keeps some of the rumbling momentum at bay. "Tordenbrak" or thunder clap has an almost Bad Company feel to the opening, though I can also hear a little bit of the Who mixed in. The vocals here take on more of a hardcore rasp.the guitar melodies compensate for the low risk vocal arrangements the screaming seems like a default as the vocals are going against the grain of the song. At over eight minutes this song does ramble on a bit and I think the has certainly made a better use of time to throw in more transitions with less playing time . Not that I ned them to be Mr.Bungle or prog it out. midway through this one I don't feel like much is going on and begin to get a little bored. I think a lot of the more rock roll riffs are allowed to almost drone on into a jam is because they know they sound better not being screamed over.

They close with a song named after themselves that feels like highway to hell. It's tight and hooky but just cock rock with the wheel not being redefined as it could also at one point be TNT . I have never liked Ac/dc, their music bored me and sounded like beer commercials or something for a pep rally, but this song in parody is at least better than that. I think where some of the more straight forward filler holds this back from being as good as the first album , the production is what holds the band back from being as explosive as their debut. Though there is some good playing on this album and the song writing is strong more often than not. I like the guitar playing even if the tone is thin at times and thinks the guitarists stepped up there game and these songs would all transition well live. . I think even though this is more of a rock album it still has sharp enough teeth and driven enough to keep it from being too middle of the roads but the changes might be to commercial of a direction for black metal fans who thought the first album was just fun filled black n roll. I'll still give it an 8 despite the cries that shall come of the band selling out which was only done on a production level, the trong moments are strong enough to pick up the slack and once I get use to it not being the first album it will grow on me .

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