The Norwegian rock and metal band Kvelertak (translates to ‘stranglehold’ and is pronounced «Kuh-vell-er-taaaak») entered 2019 with bigger riffs and an even heavier sound. With a new vocalist and frontman, they went out on a European tour with Mastodon early this year and are now preparing for the festival season before entering the studio to begin the recording of their 4th studio album in october.
The band conquers every venue they play, with their outstanding blend of classic 70’s rock n roll and Norwegian black metal. Kvelertak’s live performances can be summarized as grand, sweaty and goddamn catchy. In recent years they’ve been on tour with Converge, Mastodon and Metallica. The latter band’s frontman James Hetfield is an outspoken huge fan of the band.
Since Kvelertak started playing they’ve won four Norwegian Grammys, amongst others best newcomer in 2010 and best rock and metal album for all their albums.
The band was established in Stavanger in 2007 and consists of Vidar Landa (guitar), Marvin Nygaard (bass guitar), Bjarte Lund Rolland (guitar), Maciek Ofstad (guitar) and Kjetil Gjermundrød (drums). This summer, the frontman Erlend Hjelvik stepped down to pursue other projects and was thus replaced by Ivar Nikolaisen. Over the years Nikolaisen has had several guest appearances with the band and did vocals on the song «Blodtørst» on the album Kvelertak (2009).
«Playing music with these talented guys is extremely cool. It’s going to be fire and mayhem! I haven’t had a permanent job since working at Burger King in 1999, so this is a first for me!» says Nikolaisen.
Vidar Landa says the band has been revitalized since Ivar joined.
«It’s like we’ve gotten an ‘extra gear’ with Ivar on the roster. He has a wild energy and it’s amazing to see his contribution to the band. He’s exactly what we needed».
Nikolaisen’s first concert as Kvelertak’s new vocalist was at Fjellparkfestivalen in Norway, only a stone throw away from his childhood home.
«All the concerts with Ivar have been killer performances! He stepped in on short notice and did three concerts before the summer ended last year», Landa says.
In 2019 Kvelertak were touring all over Europe with Mastodon from January till March.
«That was our biggest tour in Europe, except for the warm up gigs we did for Metallica back in 2017. We’ve previously done two tours in America together with the dudes in Mastodon, and now we went conquering Europe. The timing was perfect for us, as we’re grooming Ivar and preparing for the summer festivals» the guitarist says.
«I can disclose that we’ve done some changes to our setlists. We will be playing songs that haven’t been performed live in a long time!».
Kvelertak is in the process of writing a new album. If everything lines up the album will be recorded and done by the end of 2019. Landa is excited, to say the least.
«It’s been great going back to songwriting and jamming. It’s different kind of work, which we all enjoy, and everybody has their say in the process. We have a completely new impulse with Ivar on our roster, which gives us a new edge. Our new record will be just what people expect from a Kvelertak album. Maybe even harder».