Towing Norwegian metal line with melody and atmosphere

Kvelertak
Kvelertak
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Norway: land of mystical fjords, immaculate air, fresh fish... and ludicrously heavy metal.

And Kvelertak, a four-piece from Norway’s oil-rich Stavanger, toe the Norwegian metal line with absolute commitment, as frontman Erlend Hjelvik explains.

“We tour all over with the band but the metal scene in Norway is particularly strong. There are some really great metal bands here.”

Indeed, it seems bizarre that such brutal but melodic music could emerge from a country renowned for its utopia-like landscapes yet the plethora of successful metal bands to come out of the country is staggering.

“I think metal and heavier music is big over here because life is so good in Norway and we have nothing to complain about.

“It’s a rich country and we don’t really have any problems so metal is a way of channeling that.”

“Plus we get financial support from the government to go on tour.”

But Kvelertak’s music is not merely distorted guitar cranked up. It’s melodic, spacey and at some points fantastical.

“It’s all about atmosphere. We come up with the melody first but the most important thing is getting the atmosphere right.”

Hjelvik is the band’s lyricist. “Some songs are personal but most are fantastical. There is one song about a man who makes a pact with the devil and its inspired by a story from the Flying Dutchman.”

The band’s self-titled debut featured many Norse myths and legends, such as Thor, but for their latest album, Meir, which was released with Sony this year, the band went for a different lyrical feel.

“For the second album we wrote more about being on tour but the lyrics are spacey.”

The fantastical still creeps into Meir though.

“One song’s about this dark, enterprising figure who finds a black hole in space - this is typical of a metal song really, it’s quite dark and evil.” Kvelertak’s sound has accrued a massive audience throughout Europe and the US. “There’s something about the Norwegian language that works really well with the music,” he says.

But for now the band’s moving house and preparing for a UK tour, with a stop-off at Corporation on April 17.