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Kvelertak - Endling review

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Band: Kvelertak
Album: Endling
Release date: September 2023

01. Krøterveg Te Helvete
02. Fedrekult
03. Likvoke
04. Motsols
05. Døgeniktens Kvad
06. Endling
07. Skoggangr
08. Paranoia 297
09. Svart September
10. Morild

Yes, punk is still a thing, and it always has been and always will be. Just so long as bands like Kvelertak are still rocking, we'll continue to protest, and to hate this world we live in.

Back in 2010, the Norwegian blackened punk band Kvelertak arrived emphatically on the metal scene, making their presence keenly known by unleashing their devastating self-titled debut. They have since moved on in fine and steady form, bringing us up to date with their fifth full-length release Endling. The band's style is striking to say the least, as they merge rock n' roll, punk, hardcore and blackened elements together, resulting in quite a unique fusion of genres. Back in 2018, founding member and lead vocalist Erlend Hjelvik left the group to be replaced by Ivar Nikolaisen, shortly after which, Håvard Takle Ohr took over drumming duties from Kjetil Gjermundrødfirst; the pair, who first featured as part of this new six-member line-up on 2020's Splid, remain as part of an unchanged line-up on the band's latest offering, Endling.

Endling is an album featuring ten tracks in total, with a theme centred around a mysterious Norwegian recluse named Helmut Von Botnlaus, who's said to have spent most of his life in isolation, only to occasionally emerge to defend nature in the fight against modern society. Vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen took inspiration for this theme after spending a great deal of time wandering the mountains and forests during the Covid pandemic, where he began to develop a kinship with Helmut's ideology, and hatred for building developers and anyone else who would destroy the natural world. Ok, the lyrics are in Norwegian, but if you're not familiar with this language then it's certainly worth your time translating, as they're actually quite deep and meaningful.

"Krøterveg Te Helvete" goes straight into fist-pumping, headbanging action, with groovy punkish riffs, passionately energetic hardcore shouts and screams, breakneck rhythms and tempo, and a great solo that is unleashed after the midway point. "Fedrekult" carries the album on in the same groovy headbanging fashion, beginning in the classic punkish manner, before the more blackened second half of the track takes its shape through a furious tremolo riffing attack. This is a seriously fun, catchy and energetic track, and it really becomes a mad frenzy when all three guitarists are introduced; it even manages to end on a sweet acoustic melody that is unexpectedly cool. From here on, you have the heavy traditional riffing and meaty bass and guitar tone of "Likvoke", along with the good old mix of blackened hardcore and folk on "Døgeniktens Kvad", with the introduction of a banjo to keep you satisfied. Then you're hit by the title track, with its catchy chorus and riff melodies, and great guitar leads, making it one of the album's most memorable songs.

One of the most striking tracks though is definitely "Skoggangr", where the harmonies clearly have a hint of Thin Lizzy about them. On paper, the style of this song may seem like an ultra-cool concept, but in reality I'd say it's far from being so; for me, it comes across as a tad too corny, and the chorus I find slightly irritating, if I have to be very honest. However, onwards and upwards, as on the two following songs, apart from an mellow opening acoustic melody on "Svart September", it's back into more familiar blackened punk rock territory, with the classic Kvelertak grooves of old. Closing the album off, you have the seven-minute-plus "Morild". This is certainly the heaviest track on the album and most varied in terms of songwriting, whilst still showing signs of those trademark groovy riffs, memorable leads, and aggressive hardcore shouts punctuated with occasional softer-mannered cleans.

Kvelertak are once again on fine form, although it's not like their standards have ever substantially dropped in quality over the years much anyway. Maybe they'll never reach the heights of their iconic debut again, but it's an admirable effort nonetheless from these now-seasoned Norwegian blackened punk rockers.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 18.11.2023 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 45 users
19.11.2023 - 22:23
Rating: 10
Of Egypt
I love all their releases, even if one is weaker than the other, they're still unique to me with the mix punk rock with heavy riffs and few black metal influences.
01.12.2023 - 13:05
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Good written man.
Well punk metat genres never will die, new bands gas the power but 80s boozing, partying and ftw attitude us gone, I only few bands cary it.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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