Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kvelertak at Irving Plaza

Erlend Hjelvik
Kvelertak was formed in 2007 in Stavanger, Norway. The band's name is Norwegian for "stranglehold" or "chokehold." Drawing inspiration from rock and roll, black metal and punk rock, the band wrote songs in its native language. The band's self-titled debut album was certified gold in Norway for selling over 15,000 copies and won two Spellemann Awards—a prestigious Norwegian music award similar to the American Grammy Award—for Best Newcomer and Best Rock Band. Now based in Rogaland, Norway, Kvelertak presently consists of vocalist Erlend Hjelvik, guitarists Vidar Landa, Bjarte Lund Rolland and Maciek Ofstad, bassist Marvin Nygaard and drummer Kjetil Gjermundrød. The band's third album, Nattesferd, will be released on May 13, 2016.

Kvelertak is barely known outside its native country, but that could change soon. At Irving Plaza tonight, long-haired, tattooed, sweaty, bare-chested Hjelvik came on stage covering his head with a mounted owl with outstretched wings. How is that for an opening? Too bad the stage lights were so dim that it was difficult to clearly see the oddity. Carrying forth, Hjelvik was an impressive shouter and animator as the musicians played riff-driven, hard-hitting, dirty rock and roll spiked by a three-guitar wail. The energetic music was basic and followed simple chord changes, roaring along at head-banging speed. The small country of Norway has produced yet another noteworthy band.

Visit Kvelertak at