It was 2010 when Norway’s Kvelertak unleashed their self titled debut and I was one of many that was completely floored by its combination of furious rock and cut throat black metal vocals. It achieved an admirable number nine in my top fifty for that year but for some reason I failed to catch them live at the time.
Fast forward to 2013 and their second album, Meir, is due out on 25th March and in support of this they announced the obligatory European tour which, although not coming to Leeds, contained a date at the Corporation in Sheffield, a mere 40 minute hop down the M1. The Corporation is a venue I have visited on many past occasions to see such bands as Clutch, Mastodon, Isis (twice), Red Sparowes, Monster Magnet and a fair few other bands of the more metallic bent, so was excited to finally to catch Norway’s finest in that dark, sticky floored room!
After a wet rainy drive down the motorway I arrived half way through the set of first support band, El Doom & The Born Electric, a Norwegian prog metal band I am not in the least bit familiar with. To be honest I cannot comment much on them as by the time I’d bought myself a drink and perused the merch stand they had finished their brief set.
Half an hour later Sweden’s Truckfighters took to the stage with their Kyuss-like brand of sludgy stoner rock. Although I had previously heard the name I had not heard a note of their stuff until the day of the gig where I checked out one of their albums on Spotify. I was pretty impressed by what I heard and even more impressed by their blistering half hour live set. Guitarist Dango (Niklas Källgren) was really up for it, bare chested and clad in shorts and bearing more than a passing resemblance to a young Dave Wyndorf (Monster Magnet, for you heathens that don’t know!) he tried his damnedest to fire up what was rather a surprisingly small crowd. Their fuzzy, riff laden brand of stoner/desert rock brings to minds such bands as Fu Manchu, Kyuss and early Queens of the Stone Age and certainly got me nodding away, limbering up the neck muscles for the inevitable headbang-fest that was to come!
And so on to the main event, the crowd filled out (a bit, I was still surprised to be able to stand near the front with a fair bit of space around me) and the band of six (why have two guitars when you can have four!) took to the stage. I was initially surprised to note than none of the band really look like I thought they would based on their music, all sporting short hair and t-shirts they looked more like an indie band (bar the flying v guitars!), until vocalist Erlend Hjelvik came on, bearded with ‘proper’ metal long hair, tattoos and dressed in leather vest over bare chest they launched straight into “Mjød”, the arse kicking single that first aurally slapped me in the chops nearly three years ago!
I am not going to try and recall the setlist for a couple of reasons, as all their material is sung in their native Norwegian the titles do not tend to stick in my mono-lingual brain, and Hjelvik’s strong accent was not too clear when screamed down the mic! But fair to say they played a roughly fifty fifty set of new material and old, the familiar tracks from the debut kicking off a small but determined mosh pit.
I have to say I found it quite amusing when Hjelvik proffered the mic to the audience to sing choruses etc, yeah, I don’t think Yorkshire contains many Norwegian speakers Erlend, cue slightly confused, mumbled shout alongs from the front! Except of course for “woooaaahhh KVELERTAK!!”
After an hour they closed their encore with a furious rendition of “Blodtørst” and safe to say the place well and truly lost its shit! Hjelvik managed to crowd surf towards the back of the venue (quite a feat with such a sparse crowd!) and then never returned, maybe he just left and got on the bus, a pretty convincing sign that it was all over! By the way, I have to award the bravery award to the guy in the Scorpions t-shirt who managed to stage dive not once but twice into the really quite small and sparsely populated mosh pit and somehow managed to avoid face planting into the floor!
After waiting to see them live for nearly three years I was by no means disappointed, an absolute face melting, neck stiffening, stormer of a gig! It has got me even more excited about hearing the new album in a couple of weeks.
I also did a little bit of filming with my phone, a bit hypocritical as it’s something I normally fume about at gigs, but I wanted to try and convey how good it was. The sound is naturally not too great as this shit was LOUD dude, nor is the camera work much to write home about but I thought people might enjoy a look.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcYaN81AytI]