There is something wonderfully unhinged about Kvelertak. Their first two albums took that combination of punk rock, rock and roll and black metal and created a unique concoction of controlled chaos. It was wild and dirty, but most importantly it was fucking fun. Therefore, it’s weird that Nattesferd has slipt out without much fanfare. Surely a band like this should be getting lauded by all comers?
Unfortunately, the reason for that becomes apparent when you sit down and have a listen. Nattesferd sees Kvelertak taking what may seem like the natural next step. The rock aspect has been upped, and the songs are desperately aiming to be bigger and more epic. Sadly, in taking that step, they seem to have forgotten exactly what it was that brought them to the dance.
This is perfectly summed up in the lead single off the album, ‘1985’. It was the first hint that this may not be going the way we hoped, and it certainly proved to be the harbinger of doom. Gone is the grab you by the groin and headbutt you in the face punk rock and in its stead is a bunch of middling Status Quo-esque riffs and five minutes of mediocrity.
Which sadly, could be used to sum up a lot of this album. Kvelertak weren’t always necessarily punchy in their music writing but even when tracks like ‘Tordenbrak’ strayed towards the nine-minute mark it never got dull. Unfortunately, Nattersferd is full of five-minute tracks which leave you wondering when they are going to end. It is always a bad sign when you find yourself glancing at an album to see if it was close to being over yet and that became the norm on this release as songs like the title track just never manage to rise above mediocrity.
Which is fucking annoying, because I love those first two albums and even on this one there are moments where they hit their groove, and you remember why. However, by upping the rock and seemingly forgetting the rest of this stuff, Kvelertak have wrecked their own sound. It now plays like a mish-mash of ideas rather than a coherent unit. Let’s just hope that this is a deviation from the path rather than a band getting lost in the woods.