Album Review: Kvelertak – Endling
Reviewed by Tim Finch
Through the white noise ringing in your ears, slowly a guitar rises from the mist. Growing louder, stronger, it is joined by a bass, a second guitar, the light pitter patter of a high hat. As the white noise fades into the background ‘Krøterveg Te Helvete’ breaks through. The rabble rousing opener from Kvelertak’s fifth studio album ‘Endling’.
It’s been three years since the bands last album ‘Splid’ was released. Since then there has been a global pandemic that has stunted all bands growth, preventing them from touring and thus ‘Splid’ never really got the live show time it deserved.
The last album delved into the lores and legends of the bands locale, ‘Endling’ carries on wit that theme. Guitarist Vidar Landa sums it up best, stating "On Endling, we tell the stories of the extinct and dying men and women of Norway. Old and new myths, culture, and rituals come to life -- the folklore that doesn't fit a TV series concept. Vikings and trolls are for television. This is the real deal."
As the album opener dies down in the listeners ears, ‘Fedrekult’ takes flight, an epic sounding opening expands into an intense affair. A blend in elements of post-hardcore, metal, and a distinct stoner rock vibe. Throughout the album, the sound maintains a consistent tone, ‘Likvoke’ has a classic rock vibe, with Judas Priest-esq dualing guitars leading us into the beast.
Everything changes when 'Skoggangr' hits, the first song the band wrote for the album. It kicks off with a punchy punk-infused rhythm and then evolves into an epic six-minute classic rock anthem based upon the story Helmut Von Botnlaus, who spent his secluded life, living off what the earth can provide him with while fighting anyone trying to destroy the surrounding nature.
As ever, Kvelertak have drawn on local inspiration to influence their creativity and produce an album of the year contender. At times dark, at times abrasive, at times filled with classic rock anthems, but always entertaining. An album fans of the band have waited three long years for, one hopes they can follow this one with an extensive touring scheduled.