ItÂ’s often said that all music today is just a copy of something else. But what if that particular something is a copy of several different things that have never been combined before, resulting in a unique blend that logically should not exist but does? And what if the six Norwegians behind this music happen to be one of the best live acts not only of their genre, but of their generation?
This highly combustible combination is what greeted the earplug-filled ears of fans on Monday, Dec 12, when NorwayÂ’s black metal/hardcore/rock Â‘nÂ’ roll hybrid Kvelertak graced Lille Vega with their penchant for upbeat riffs and hardcore energy. Black metal is traditionally a no-fun-zone genre, defined by tremolo picking and shrieking vocals, set to match up with the bleakest and blackest of atmospheres.
On KvelertakÂ’s 2010 self-titled release, the band took the black metal template and kept the vocals and some of the tremolo, but chose to cast the rest out into the Norwegian winter from which it came and fill in the cracks with hardcore punk and straight forward rock. The result is something that has divided black metal purists, but has enthralled open-minded music fans and the music press alike.
That Kvelertak could be playing Vega as the headliner on a four-band bill behind just one album of material is testament to just how quickly the world has taken to the band. And their live show did not disappoint. Kvelertak blistered through nearly every song on their album, with vocalist Erlend Hjelvik leading the attack with a six-pack of fat rolls and a torso coated in equal parts sweat and tattoos. The crowd quickly became well acquainted with Erlend as he stage dived multiple times into the ballistic mass of fans at his feet, leaving them to assist him in crowd surfing while he continued to scream the Norwegian lyrics.
The delirious crowd was a slave to the frontman. When he rotated his wrist in a circular motion beckoning for a bigger, more violent, and more insane circle pit, they had no choice but to heed to his request. KvelertakÂ’s live show was like an injection of pure adrenaline directly into the vein, and an inability to keep up meant bodily harm either from above or the person next to you.
The energy that had been saved up for Kvelertak came at the expense of opening acts Wolves Like Us, The Secret, and Toxic Holocaust. On this night, Kvelertak reigned supreme, sending fans off into the night with blown-out ear drums, droopy eyes, beaten and bruised bodies, but wide smiles. This, they knew, was special.