Kvelertak is one of my favorite bands, so when the tour was announced my attendance wasn’t a question. It didn’t really matter who will accompany the group, although I was interested in who was found “worthy” to “ramp up” the crowd before their performance. When the names were announced, I didn’t get any closer as I haven’t heard them before, but there was sufficient time until the concert to prepare myself.
According to Wikipedia, Blood Command (Bergen, Norway) plays deathpop. Anyone heard about deathpop before? After listening to few of their songs, it wasn’t mystical anymore: clever mixture of styles assembled on HC/punk intensity. They seemed similar to (I hope deathpop fans will forgive me) Raised Fist, Gallows, Turnstile or Code Orange (the new album just aired now). They all have an excellent lead singer and very intense live performance. Blood Command’s show was just as pulsating as their albums, Karina Ljone 45 kg incorporated more power than most male singers would dream for. It was shocking that she is the same lovely lady I have met later at the merchandise.
The last two albums from Planet Of Zeus (Athens, Greece) are strong in style with high quality. Don’t know what’s happening in Greece nowadays, but the scene is pretty strong, especially the stoner direction: 1000mods, Tuber, Void Droid and Nightstalker are just a few names, but it seems like any band YouTube throws up in the genre will be at least average. Their live performance wasn’t a disappointment at all: quality music, performance in place and cool stage appearance. No negative thoughts this time. Would really love to see one of their shows in Greece one day.
I think I can say that I have followed Kvelertak (Stavanger, Norway) from early on, from their first show in Hungary in 2010. By that time they were already three years after their first album release, Westcoast Holocaust. I’m the kind of guy who can be pleased with careful mixture of genres, and boy, their self-titled 2010’s album pleased me. They have proven their live performance ability before as the opening acts for the Converge tour. As the bastard-son of Turbonegro’s and Carpathian Forest’s romance grew older, I have came to adore them. There was no point determining a genre for them anymore.
I was surprised when Erlend Hjelvik have left the band. He seemed to be the perfect lead singer after I have seen them in A38 (2014), their first Hungarian show as headliners. I thought it cannot be better than this. I’ve skipped the Nattesferd’ tour and the Metallica opening act (30 minutes wasn’t enough from my favorite band). Then Erlend Hjelvik left and Ivar Nikolaisen came. You may know him from The Good The Bad and The Zugly (check them out, Nordic pleasure-music like Turbonegro or The Hellacopters). Stakes are high Ivar, take your best shot. The new album, Splid, was spl(end)id (haha, get it?), well done guys! But as I wrote in the first section about Blood Command, if you don’t have a good front act, the live show will fall apart. But this wasn’t the case now. And the music – well, from a flawless discography you can pick randomly.
Although it was an album tour, I wasn’t expecting Rogaland + Crack of Doom combo for the start. The main song is genial, but Crack Of Doom, sharpened by Troy Sanders (Mastodon) will be among the biggest Kvelertak hits to go down in history.
Then came Bruane Brenn from Meir (check the video!). The crowd was burning, and there was no going back from this point.
It’s been a while I have seen so many beer glasses in the air, but I didn’t care. Ivar Nikolaisen is like Axl Rose jumping on grindcore. He died on stage, during every song, multiple times. He gave a new impulse, a new thrust to the band.
There wasn’t anything left to complain about, there were seven songs from the new album, but all periods were summoned thoroughly. They didn’t spare the time spent on fans, the show must had been around 1.5h.
Besides the obvious hits (Mjød, Bråtebrann), the live performance of the eight minute long new song – Fanden ta Dette Hull! – grinded me to the ground. As Lénárd Laci wrote it in the new album’s review in Hammer magazine, with this band you never know whats coming. A thrash or black metal theme follows a Thin Lizzy twin-harmony, naturally and swiftly, without any feeling of dissonance. You have to hear it, it can’t be phrased properly… Neither the picture, when Ivar, not on this world anymore, squeezes sweat in his mouth at the end of the concert
Can one announce the concert of the year in March? I don’t know, but if so, this was it. I wont be going to Kvelertak for a while now. What for? Saw it all. One of the bests in the scene: in the studio or on the stage, doesn’t count.
Just kidding, see you on the next show!
Photos: Máté Évi