Review Summary: While many fans won't see this as much of a deviation from their established sound, the overwhelming quality of the final product is undeniable: This is, in fact, a superb follow-up that could even be seen as an improvement.
Kvelertak has garnered quite a reputation over the last few years for their eclectic mish-mash of hardcore punk with black metal. Their self-titled release was received very well critically, and for good reason. The music was hard hitting and abrasive, yet upbeat and melodic. The shouted choruses and build-ups were translated indelibly onto the stage, and got crowds going crazy. Ever since, there has been hype for their new release.
There is no mistake, the music here is undeniably Kvelertak's signature sound. The rock'n'roll styling's and melodic-hardcore aesthetics are ever present here, and it would be a lie to say that this is a departure from their original sound. This is exactly what contributes to part of the album's swagger, however, as the band has shown that they have no interest in drastically altering the style that they've established for themselves. The result is essentially the title of the album, "Meir", or "More" in Norwegian. They've taken the elements of what made them so equally likeable and satisfying musically, and proceeded to amplify, in terms of both scale and quality, the nature and intensity of their songs.
Take the second track, "Spring Fra Livet" for example. The songs begins in a sort of driving hardcore verse, then suddenly breaks out into a major chord laden blast beat, giving quite a good vision of Spring, as the title suggests. This shows another step that Kvelertak has taken to improve their sound. The melodies are more developed, and the leads accent the verses in spectacular ways, such as on the 8th track, "Nekrokosmos", where I swear the tune's theme goes straight from blackened cryptic heaviness to an epic, dare-I-say poppy chorus.
The fans of Kvelertak's heavier side shouldn't be disappointed, and neither the one's who took a liking to the melodies found throughout the first release. I'd even say this album has the potential to make new fans out of people who didn't like their self-titled, but to each is own. For now, Kvelertak has certainly set the bar for modern metal and rock with "Meir", and I look forward to seeing what next step the band will take in the course of their blooming career.