Paste (magazine) - "Ballou sharpens the contrast more noticeably this time around, making the guitars more potent and the vocals more organic....MEIR contains some of the rowdiest, most ambitious stuff the band's ever released."
Personnel: Erlend Hjelvik (vocals); Bjarte Lund Rolland, Maciek Ofstad, Vidar Landa (guitar); Kjetil Gjermundrod (drums).
Audio Mixer: Kurt Ballou.
Recording information: GodCity (08/2012-09/2012).
Norway's Kvelertak (Norwegian for "chokehold") turned heads, some of which went all the way around Linda Blair-style, with their 2010 eponymous debut, an extreme metal "fasterpiece" that took the genre to the mat, flipped it over on its belly, and went in for the tickle. On 2013's Meir, the band's Roadrunner Records debut, the spirited, Stavanger-based six-piece doubles down (Meir = More) on their signature blend of thrash, black, power, death, and punk metal, offering up an 11-track tray of mead shots that leave the listener in happy little pieces. This isn't your black greasepaint-covered father's extreme Scandinavian metal. Kvelertak subvert the genre in the same way Andrew W.K. does, by taking all of the exclusivity out of it and shifting the focus to what decibel-shattering music is really about: partying. That said, Meir is hardly an exercise in camp, nor is it imbued with any kind of hipster irony. Songs like "Spring Fra Livet," with its ratty, snarling verses and explosive, life-affirming chorus (sung with polyp-inducing viciousness by frontman Erlend Hjelvik), and the epic single "Bruane Brenn," which pairs the seismic crunch of Mastodon and the mad, melodic glee of fellow countrymen Kaizers Orchestra with a guitar breakdown that's pulled straight out of the Mutt Lange playbook, bristle with the feral and fantastic fatalism of youth, while desperately holding on to tried and true classic rock underpinnings for support. Kvelertak have the chops and the attitude, but best of all they have the songs, which is more than can be said about some of their contemporaries. They may use familiar ingredients, but they're familiar for a reason. Meir is, simply put, fu*king delicious. ~ James Christopher Monger