November 14th 2011, Kvelertak (NOR) @ Tavastia, Helsinki, Finland
If you haven’t heard of the Norwegian powerhouse Kvelertak yet, you must have been living in a cave for the past year. The band has been praised left and right by both media and fans thanks to their 2010’s fresh sounding self-titled debut album. Kvelertak mixes elements from so many sub genres of metal into their music that it’s very hard to put them under even a few different labels. Black’n’roll is the most accurate description I’ve personally come across – their sound is dark and primal, yet melodic and remarkably groovy.
The band’s first European headlining tour, featuring also Toxic Holocaust, Doomriders and The Secret, hit Helsinki’s rock sanctuary Tavastia on November 14th. The gloomy pub located in the heart of central Helsinki right beside the Kamppi mall has witnessed four decades of rock history and in the process hauled its beer price all the way up to 5,80 EUR. Tavastia is an intimate venue with a 700 capacity on two floors, but the upper floor bar is typically closed on mid-week shows, which was the case tonight as-well.
You don’t often see any band, let alone a debutant, boasting as many as nine different shirt designs up for sale, which is a testimony of how far the band has gone with just their first studio effort. Tonight’s show was already the band’s fourth in Finland this year. Kvelertak pulled in an astonishing 500 Finns to an early Monday show despite the hefty 30 EUR ticket price.
Kvelertak‘s secret sauce on record is exceptionally strong songwriting, but the massive following they’ve achieved is much thanks to their ferocious live shows that leave no one cold. The music isn’t overly complicated, which left room for the three guitarists of the band to be constantly on the move, and play with the kind of intensity that produces a guitar wall that was guaranteed to blow your head off. And Erland Hjelvik‘s outright possessed vocal performance with a few foolhardy dives to the audience was a well-matching icing on the cake.
The sextet gave the fans their money’s worth by playing every single track from their only album, as well as two new tracks that sounded like they could’ve been off the debut. The length of the show was kind of pushing it as “Ordsmedar av rang” was the only track where the band switched into a slightly lighter and moodier gear, with the rest of the song material being very much in your face.
Sjøhyenar (Havets herrer)
Sultans of Satan
– New song –
– New song –
Ordsmedar av rang
Utrydd dei svake
Whether you like Kvelertak’s unique sound or not, don’t think twice to go to see this young and hungry band just absolutely killing it on stage.
LH / Photos: Amelie Lund[nggallery id=35]