Electric Ballroom, London
added: 17 Mar 2013
// gig date: 14 Mar 2013
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
There was a distinctive Nordic atmosphere in North London this March evening. It was cold and we had two Norwegian bands, with a Swedish filler, performing at the Electric Ballroom.
Up first were El Doom and the Born Electric, who playing to a sparse crow was something of a blessing as they embarrassed themselves in front of fewer people. Playing a dull set of mainly 70’s era blues rock - think a very tired sounding Deep Purple – interest waned quickly.
Truck Fighters from Sweden were a whole different proposition. Creating great stoner riffs that could quite easily carry those massive Mack rigs across the States; the Fighter’s laid it on thick, groovy and heavy. But there’s light and shade here with changes of tack and mood that kept the audience’s attention.
And so to Kvelertrak who, with a new album ready are ripping it up in the UK. Ostensibly a punk/hardcore act, they can also get down with the Metallers should they feel like it. What was also clearer tonight was that for all the hyper-speed and complex technique they can also be quite melodic at times.
The three guitars didn’t clutter the sound, and taken with an intuitive rhythm section, the band were as tight as the proverbial. Singer Erlend Hjelvik rampaged around the stage, and off occasionally, never missing a note. It didn’t really matter that what he was singing was un-intelligible – Norwegian or English. And for music that generally demands grimacing or agonised expressions from the musicians, tonight they were smiling and looking as if they were having a genuinely good time up there.
The new songs were welcomed, with the single Bruane Brenn having an ever so slightly poppy sound during the chorus sing-along. But it was the heavyweights of Ulvetid, Mjød and Sjøhyenar (Havets Herrer) that brought the Ballroom crowd to ferment, and the surfers out on top.
All told this was a performance by a band currently on the crest of a wave, and briming with confidence. The reaction they received, and the direction taken by some of the new songs suggests keeping an eye on Kvelertak.
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