Kvelertak’s Ivar Nikolaisen to Chaoszine: “Our influences are everything from Fleetwood Mac to Raw Power and Norwegian Black Metal”

Author Flavia Andrade - 13.6.2023

Kvelertak is the gold standard in punked-up, black metal-adjacent, classic rock-worshipping extreme music. The band is truly unlike any other, arming themselves with massive riffs, punk rock attitude and energy, and black metal ferocity. Hailing primarily from Rogaland, which borders the North Sea, the six members of Kvelertak (Norwegian for “stranglehold”) conjure a double dose of urgent power from their countrymen, from the frosty primitive black metal Darkthrone to the unhinged debauchery of Turbonegro. Their robust five albums deep catalog defies easy categorization, shifting briskly between subgenres with revelry.

The band’s tour history reads like a roll call of heavy metal royalty. They supported Iron Maiden and Foo Fighters in Norway and toured with Slayer and Ghost. James Hetfield turned up at one of the band’s shows in San Francisco, California. Soon, Metallica took them on the WorldWired Tour, including a historic gig at London’s 02 Arena in 2017 which broke the venue’s attendance record.

Kvelertak as an entity stretches back to 2007 and the release of their demo, “Westcoast Holocaust”. A reputation as a Stooges-worthy live act landed them a record deal. Their self-titled debut hit No. 3 on the Norwegian charts and lingered in the Top 20 for months. In 2011, they won two Spellemannprisen Awards (not unlike the American Grammy). In 2013, “Meir” became the band’s first No. 1 album in Norway.

A friend of the band since the beginning who guested on the first album, vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen lived in relative isolation in the woods in Nordmarka when Kvelertak recruited him to take over as frontman in 2018. The first album with Nikolaisen, “Splid” debuted at No. 1 in Norway. It made year-end album lists in many important publications.

During the pandemic, Kvelertak have worked on their upcoming album, “Endling”, which will be released on September 08, via Petroleum Records. The album brims with catchy, straight-to-the-point hard rock tunes. But in terms of instrumentation, production, and storytelling, the band paints with broad strokes of ambition and confidence. Since the release of the incredibly well-received “Splid” in 2020, there have been many crises in the band’s part of the world. Rather than sing about them, Kvelertak set out to create an immersive type of escapism. The lyrics are all in Norwegian, but an English introduction accompanies each song.

Chaoszine had the opportunity to chat with Nikolaisen about the inspirations for their upcoming album “Endling”. He also spoke of his love for Iggy and The Stooges, the diversity and uniqueness of Kvelertak‘s sound and their upcoming touring plans. The frontman also addressed the in-fighting Kvelertak is known for, and why the owl is the symbol that represents the band.

You can check out the full video interview below:

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