Personnel: Erlend Hjelvik (vocals); Bjarte Lund Rolland, Maciek Ofstad, Vidar Landa (guitar); Kjetil Gjermundrod (drums).
Audio Mixer: Kurt Ballou.
Recording information: GodCity (02/2010-03/2010).
Just when you think every possible rock & roll subgenre has already been mixed, matched, and spliced with every other available subgenre beyond any conceivable alternative, along comes a band like Kvelertak to set you straight. The Norwegian sextet's eponymous debut essentially weds punk rock to black metal, taking the straightforward power chords and infectious simplicity of the former and dashing its brains against the petrified forest symbolizing the latter's remorseless attack and harsh vocals (all of them spewing Norwegian lyrics, to boot). The resulting hybrid, as exemplified by thunderous ditties like "Mjod," "Fossegrim," "Offernatt," and "Sultans of Satan," simultaneously encourages listeners to pogo around the room (sh*t-eating grins permanently plastered on their faces) and slaughter a goat to Belial (in a manner of speaking) -- all the better if they're ambidextrous enough to handle both tasks at once. The members of Kvelertak certainly are, as proven by the blastbeat-infused "Ulvetid," "Nekroshop," and "Liktorn"; and then there's the remarkable "Ordsmedar Av Rang," where the group somehow rolls Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, and Mayhem into one blood-raw steak sandwich. In many ways, Kvelertak provide a natural progression for their compatriots Turbonegro, taking that group's tongue-in-cheek homoerotic/satanic glam rock to the next stage of musical, if not necessarily visual, extremity (Kvelertak being rather regular-looking blokes). Time will tell whether these new kids on this block shall prove anywhere near as creatively exciting and reliable in the long run, but this self-titled first effort sure promises much, and easily sits among 2010's most enjoyable extreme metal albums. Honestly, evil has rarely sounded this much fun. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia