Kvelertak with Torche, Wild Throne, All Souls
Since the release of Kvelertak’s eponymous debut album in 2010, the band have traversed the globe playing over 500 shows in 4 continents over the last 4 years, and picking up three Norwegian Grammy’s (Spellemann awards). They have supported Converge, Foo Fighters, Mastodon, Metallica, Kiss, and most recently Anthrax and Slayer on a European wide tour.
The four-pronged Floridian Riff Colossus that has steamrolled its way across the international underground. Led by vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks (formerly of doom dropouts Floor) and featuring the myriad talents of drummer Rick Smith, bassist Jonathan Nuñez and guitarist Juan Montoya, Torche unfurled their self-titled debut in 2005 via Richmond, Virginia's Robotic Empire. The glorious half-hour of blissed-out power-grooves, triumphant vocal harmonies and cosmic resonance within was variously hailed as "stoner pop," "thunder rock," and "doom pop," but a consensus was quickly reached within the Fourth Estate: Both the underground and mainstream press had their hands halfway down their pants just thinking about listening to Torche. The band was immediately lauded as giants among men, leaders among sheep, and powerbrokers of a deadly new sonic idiom founded upon Brooks' signature "bomb-string" detonation-detune. As Decibel magazine so righteously pointed out in May of 2005, Torche "carries on in the dizzying Sabbathian tradition of Floor, only potentially more bottomless and epic." Seven months later, the same publication would declare Torche as the # 7 album of the year in its annual top 40.
Wild Throne, known as Dog Shredder until 2013, consists of friends and musical cohorts Josh Holland (guitar/vocals), Noah Burns (drums) and Jeff Johnson (bass). The trio spent 10 years playing in bands with and around each other in their hometown of Bellingham, Wash. before unifying in 2009 with a mission to hit hard. The band's progress in the early days of this pursuit has been documented on two vinyl EPs: 2011's Boss Rhino EP and 2012's Brass Tactics. The band's sound is a dynamic mix of elements of Judas Priest, Mastodon, Queen, the Mars Volta, classic metal, thrash and progressive rock, creating music that Pitchfork once described as "exhilarating, fun [and] ferocious" and "proof that ambition and skill don't automatically cancel out heart."
More about Kvelertak
They're called punk and metal, but at their hearts Norwegian berserkers Kvelertak are the living, firebreathing embodiment of rock and roll. Since their formation in 2006, they've built a die-hard fan-base hungry for their utterly ferocious live shows that have already burned two flaming tire-tracks across the globe.
"Buzzworthy" doesn't even begin to describe Kvelertak, and their roll-call of achievements reads like a legend waiting to happen. Their rapturously-received self-titled 2011 debut – produced by none other than Converge's Kurt Ballou - was termed "the best Norwegian debut of all time" by Norwegian rock authority Asbjorn Slettemark, "Best Debut Album" by Metal Hammer Germany, "Best New Artist" and "Best Rock Album" at the Spellemannprisen (Norway's Grammy equivalent), and iTunes US's Metal Breakthrough Artist of The Year in 2011. Along with unanimous praise from Metal Hammer UK, Terrorizer, Rock Hard, and Kerrang! who called them "the most exciting new band on the planet," Kvelertak - or "chokehold" in English - are showing no signs of slowing down.
From storming 2011's SXSW festival to being personally invited by Mastodon to support them in Bergen, Norway, to Dave Grohl presenting them with their first gold discs at a sold-out Foo Fighter's show, this Scandinavian sextet have already circled the globe, hitting every fest from the UK to Australia, including a gig in Singapore that finished out on the street, stopping traffic and ending up as a viral hit on YouTube.
At the core of it, though, is the music - a brew of rock, punk and metal so infectious it should carry a warning label. Look out, world, because their second album, "Meir," is on its way.
"It's like the first one, but way more in every way," says six-stringer Bjarte Lund Rolland. "The big songs are bigger, the harder songs are harder, the poppy songs are poppier, and..."
"This is going to blow your brains out," adds singer Erlend Hjelvik, whose riot-inducing vocals may be in Norwegian, but they speak a language of badass bravado like no other. "The first one was pretty much all party; this time around it's the hangover where you go round two and start drinking again the day after. You get drunk real quick and you're generally in a weird f*ck-you-all-mood. It's known as the shampoo-effect."
Call it the shampoo-effect, or one of the most uproarious displays of recorded lunacy of the 21st century, but these Stavanger natives are set to take on the world. Think stunning guitar-leads that recall the heady days of Guns N' Roses tempered with the down-stroked muscularity of Metallica, with the party-vibes of a rockabilly hoedown, Kvelertak are nothing short of a fjord fiesta.
"The most important thing is that it's just as f*cking shameless as the first one," says Bjarte. If not more. "I'm really excited about it."
We are too, Bjarte. We are, too.