Kvelertak: Splid – A Review21st February 2020
Hopefully you already know Norwegian punk metalers Kvelertak as they’ve been around for a few years now and have 2 decent albums and 1 SUPERB album (Nattesferd, get it, it’s brilliant) under their belt. 2020’s ‘Splid ‘is the first with new vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen and drummer Havard Takle. Changing a couple of the band doesn’t seem to have slowed the band down at all and ‘Splid ‘is very much my favourite of their four albums.
The opening song “Rogaland” prepares you for a couple of minutes before the track and the rest of the album kick in. The song builds and builds making you sit up and get ready for it. When the song eventually kick in, it’s choppy, punky and really, seriously good. If you read my recent review of Polaris (read it here) then you know that I’m not a major fan of screamy vocals, however the combination of vocal styles Ivar brings to not only “Rogaland” but all the songs on the album sits very well with me.
No sooner is “Rogaland” over, than we’re into “Crack of Doom” which features Mastodon’s Troy Sanders. Again there is a lot of energy to the song and this keeps up pretty much throughout. In fact on first listen, I had reached the sixth song “Uglas Hegemoni”, before I even realised it. “Crack of Doom” however is a really good tune and has a very contemporary feel to it, it’s a playlist track for me.
As mentioned, the band have a strong punk influence to their songs, be it the choppy guitars, the aggression, short vocals. That said, they are definitely metal and on the seventh song, “Fanden Ta Ddetter Hull!”, these influences come to the fore.
Up to this point the album has been so full of energy that it got a little same-y. Not bad, they were just all at the same sort of pace. “Fanden” changes all of this.
Now the chances are that you won’t agree with me about this, but “Fanden” begins with the sort of sound that I recognize in early Maiden, Pre-Dickinson, after all, Paul Di’Anno was a punk singer. It kicks off with a classic rock sound and punk vocals focused on the twin guitars, at 3.30 the first breakdown is even more Maiden. However, at 4mins we leave Maiden behind and head at full pace towards Judas Priests 1990 classic Painkiller. It is speed metal all the way! The short solo if pure Glenn Tipton. Then as soon as it began we are back into a melodic classic rock style to round out the song. Playlist!
It is fair to say that this is my song of 2020 so far. I know it’s only February but I’ve found myself humming the tune several times this week.
After “Fanden”, there is a lot more variety in the tracks and back in the day I can see this being side A and side B on an LP.
As much as I like “Fanden”, there are a couple of tracks that feel more like filler than anything else, “Tevling” and “Discord” aren’t bad as such, I just didn’t feel anything listening to them.
It isn’t always an easy listen and there are tracks that are very much not commercial what with style changes and tempo changes a plenty. However, I really enjoy putting this album on and just zoning out of whatever I’m supposed to be doing in work.
The album is so full of energy that you will
‘Splid ‘is an album made by a band who are confident about themselves and who have matured into musicians who know what they like. To have several styles throughout the album and in several songs shows just how much they know about themselves.
Listening to the album was very easy. Despite the screaming and shouting Ivar gets up to, it isn’t constant and there’s enough ‘normal’ singing to allow me to enjoy the songs. I think that if you like hard rock or metal of any sort then you’ll find something on the album to like. Be it the melodic chorus of “Bratebann” (another playlist song) to the screaming verses of “Rogaland”, this album covers a lot of bases, generally very well.
‘Splid’ is another step towards the top and I have every faith that Kvelertak will get there. Get this album now (and pick up Nattesferd if you don’t already have it as well). Any album that gives me 3 songs to add to my playlist is going to get high marks from me.
- Crack of Doom (Feat Troy Sanders)
- Uglas Hegemoni
- Fanden Ta Dette Hull!
- Stevnemote Med Satan
- Delirium Tremens
- Ved Bredden av Nihli
14th Feb 2020