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Kvelertak: Meir

In his infamous, near-impenetrable "Transcendental Black Metal," Liturgy frontman Hunter-Hunt Hendrix spoke of the "burst beat." For Hendrix, the burst beat serves as the means of transcending the banal nihilism that so plagues many black metal bands. In other words, burst beats are—to borrow the music writing cliché—life-affirming. And while Liturgy's challenging take on black metal remains to this day controversial, the sense of joy in Hendrix's theory has been seen in other groups. Such is especially the case for Norway's Kvelertak, whose sophomore LP Meir (pronounced "more") takes black metal and, while incorporating it into a sonic tapestry that includes classic rock, blues, punk, and even traditional heavy metal, really brings out the positivity that can come out of what many conceive to be a very negative style.

After releasing an impressive self-titled debut in 2010, Kvelertak (Norwegian for "stranglehold") had the metal world in much anticipation leading up to Meir's release, and now that it's out it safe to say that whatever hype existed has been completely justified. This LP's sprawling, diverse sonic brings to mind last year's release from Baroness, Yellow and Green (whose frontman John Baizley did the sleeve art for this album), but unlike Baroness—who in large part turned away from the metal present in its early style—Kvelertak gleefully embrace the harsh parts of the metal continuum in tandem with hook-heavy, old-school classic rock riffs. The gleeful blast beats and fast note picking of album highlight "Spring Fra Livet" give way to some tasty blues-inflected riffs. The classic rock influence here is marvelous; parts of lead single "Bruane Brenn" wouldn't have sounded out of place on a '70's Aerosmith record. The AC/DC-meets-chant punk of "Kvelertak," which caps off Meir in a blaze of glory, further captures this band's conviviality.

Very few bands in contemporary metal sound as well-versed in the tools of techniques of rock and roll as much as Kvelertak does. The history of rock and roll and heavy metal are not so easily divorced—a fact many a metalcore fan will forget still today—and when a group embraces all aspects of these two genres' core features in the way Kvelertak does, the result is sublimely refreshing. Even those who are put off by black metal vocals or shrill tremolo picking will find something to love, because that's the kind of album Meir is: it's everything great about rock and metal rolled into a single incredible release. Heavy can be, and is, a positive thing, and Kvelertak burst the hell out of these beats. Undoubtedly one of the year's best.

Tracklisting

1. Åpenbaring
2. Spring Fra Livet
3. Trepan
4. Bruane Brenn
5. Evig Vandrar
6. Snilepisk
7. Månelyst
8. Nekrokosmos
9. Undertro
10. Tordenbrak
11. Kvelertak

Added: April 19th 2013
Reviewer: Brice Ezell
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1260
Language: english

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