support Toxic Holocaust + The Secret + Wolves Like Us
author AP date 12/12/11 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

What a year it must have been for Kvelertak. Endorsed by Dave Grohl himself and awarded one million Norwegian Kroner by Statoil for the best upcoming band in the country, Kvelertak have gone from an underground sensation to a worldwide institution, with fans all over the world screaming gibberish back at them instead of the actual lyrics which are sung in Norwegian and have never been released for the public. Kvelertak are, without the slightest of doubts, one of the most promising and exciting bands in metal right now, and this, their first ever headlining European tour, was to be solid proof of their increasing might.

Wolves Like Us

In charge of initiating the proceedings tonight is a recent addition to the Norwegian music market, and one whose debut album struck a certain chord with me. Post-hardcore in the classic style is this quartet's product of choice, with ample references to such underground legends as Drive Like Jehu, Quicksand and Glassjaw apparent in their songs. Unfortunately their lofty, spacious mid-tempo songs are a little too introspective to be engaging in a live setting, especially given their carefree delivery. Despite the various members' extensive experience from playing in bands like JR Ewing, there is something utterly amateurish about the band (though this is quite possibly an intentional gimmick) as they fiddle around for five minutes striving for the perfect sound mix and look to each other for cues regarding when to start and stop playing. So although the reception is polite and everybody claps in between the songs, the performance seems underwhelming at best. The more intriguing produce that gets an airing toward the end of the set is a slightly different story, though not strong enough to redeem the wavering quality of the first half of the set. It seems to me like Wolves Like Us have yet to reach the kind of symbiosis necessary to function as a single unit.


The Secret

Italian blackened grindcore unit The Secret is a much different story. Their set begins with five minutes of harrowing low fidelity rumble pierced here and there by powerful tom-tom strikes and deep growls that seem to refer to something related to "virgin blood" before transforming into short but precise blasts of cold and brooding malevolence. There is something utterly terrifying about The Secret, bathed in red light and backed by flickering strobe lights behind their amp stacks from beginning to end. Marco Coslovich appears as a mere shadow; a satanic silhouette capable of the most chilling shrieks and growls, his three-man backing troop comprising guitarist Michael Bertoldini, bassist Lorenzo Gulminelli and drummer Tommaso Corte delivering a solid, if somewhat monotonous barrage of grinding madness for a good 35 minutes. Although the band is not exactly a bundle of energy, their visual expression is near sublime; a perfect complement to the darkness of their songs. So while my interest in the grindcore genre is extremely limited, The Secret give me the desire to dig a little deeper into its murky confines.

Toxic Holocaust

The third warm-up act on this surprisingly eclectic bill is Toxic Holocaust, whose mixture of classic and blackened thrash sits very well with the audience tonight. It is no secret that Danish fans of metal are predominantly interested in all things old school whilst being vehemently opposed to change and innovation, which means that even though Toxic Holocaust is probably best described as extremely shallow in terms of their style, diversity and influences, it is sufficiently classically oriented to incite people into forming the evening's first circle pit. I must admit myself that there is something very engaging about unpretentious thrash metal bangers like "Metal Attack", "666" and "Nuke the Cross", but from a musical standpoint it is the slower blackened variants like "War is Hell" that provide the most rewarding experience. Toxic Holocaust is not something that will ever find its way to my stereo, but in a live setting, particularly in Denmark, it is obvious that they have much to offer.



It would be foolish to expect anything short of an explosive live show from the Norwegian comet Kvelertak. Indeed, their set tonight is the culmination of two years of relentless touring and cultivating their live show to one of the best in music right now, not to mention a celebration of their sudden but well-deserved rise to mainstream stardom. The sheer energy and sense of confrontation emanating from the stage during black'n'roll bangers like "Fossegrim", "Blodtørst" and "Ulvetid" renders the exceptionally poor sound mix almost irrelevant; it's not like Erlend Hjelvik's vocals would sound their best anyhow given the amount of time he spends surfing over the crowd and teeming on stage like the drunken viking that he is. Still, the lack of lead guitar and unduly loud backing vocals plaguing the beginning of the set do cause some frustration for those of us more interested in watching and listening than participating in the relentless moshing and stage-diving going on.

But fuck it. Kvelertak give us their entire album, including the seldom played "Sultans of Satan" and two new songs, "Spring" and "Trepan", meaning that they literally prowl through everything they've got, and do so without the slightest sign of fatigue from months of touring. Although the two new cuts baffle the crowd somewhat at first and halt the frenzied response for a minute or two, judging from their sound Kvelertak are not about to venture into experimental territory or disappoint the hordes of fans thirsting for more norse power. A power, which becomes all too apparent during the band's more ambitious pieces "Liktorn", "Ordsmedar av Rang" and the encore staple "Utrydd dei Svake". Fortunately the sound problems have long since been fixed to satisfying levels and the crowd only gets madder. Despite the technical problems, Kvelertak manage to stage another triumphant performance that critics have been lining up to praise in unison. I shall join them.


  • 01. Sjøhyenar (Havets Herrer)
  • 02. Fossegrim
  • 03. Blodtørst
  • 04. Sultans of Satan
  • 05. Nekroskop
  • 06. Spring
  • 07. Offernatt
  • 08. Ulvetid
  • 09. Liktorn
  • 10. Trepan
  • 11. Ordsmedar av Rang
  • 12. Mjød


  • 13. Utrydd dei Svake

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