Music News


With a name that translates roughly to "stranglehold" in Norwegian, this sextet has spent the last six years cultivating a sound that feels like a mixture of black metal and the Stooges, Cave In and Converge. Fittingly, the frontman of that last act, Kurt Ballou, produced Kvelertak's latest album, 2013's Meier, which bears artwork from a like-minded musician, Baroness's John Baizley. With an oddly and refreshingly balanced combination of rawness, melody and heaviness — not to mention aggression and psychedelia — Kvelertak also manages to invoke an American Southern-rock vibe without beating that retro aesthetic into the ground. With songs propelled by a momentum that's broken only by moments of lingering atmospherics, like the eye of a storm, this outfit sways as much as it rocks.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.