Rock and metal merging splendidly
With two new members—Ivar Nikolaisen and Hâvard Takle Ohr—, Norwegian heavy metal band Kvelertak has released their fourth studio album, Splid. While a majority of their lyrics are in Norwegian, any metal and hard rock fans will find themselves nodding along. Long time fans and new listeners will be drawn in by Nikolaisen’s vocals which prove to be versatile as seen through the different tones and vibes songs portray.
The opener, “Rogaland,” gives off a heavy metal vibe that appears on a few other songs in an album that is rock dominant. For the first two minutes, the guitar is drawn out and, as it continues, harder notes are slowly added until the lyrics come in around the two-minute mark. The screaming vocals give off the metal vibe which quickly shifts with each song and the Nikolaisen utilizes his voice.
“Bråtabann” is a prime example of how versatile his voice is in just one song. At times, the volume of his vocals matches the instrumentation which makes it hard to hear the lyrics, but at other times they are at the forefront. “Uglas hegemoni” is another track that offers a clearly punk-influenced track heard through the edgy screaming vocals.
“Fanden ta dette hull!” is a prime example of the rock and roll coming through with a flare of metal vibe coming through with fast-paced guitar riffs and the overall tempo, but also still giving off a rock vibe for portions of the song. Each instrumental element—vocals, guitars, drums and bass—works together and layers well to deliver a solid song and album overall.
Kvelertak, with only four albums out, has distinguished themselves to be successful black ‘n’ roll artists, which is clearly evident in Splid and their previous work. Both Ohr and Nikolaisen hold their own and match the success and atmosphere that the Norwegian band has gained since 2007.
With Nikolaisen at the forefront as the new vocalist, it’s hard not to comment on his ability to match Erlend Hjelvik, former lead vocalist. When he screams, it will be approved by long-time fans of the band and they will appreciate the new avenues he can open up with his differences. In the end, new and old fans will enjoy the album from “Rogaland” to “Ved bredden av Nihil.” Kevlertak continues to deliver engaging albums that will leave people wanting more.