Review Summary: Kunne ha vært mer.
Let’s be honest here: we all wanted a new Kvelertak
, right? Reality is, Splid
turned out to be more of a continuation of Nattesferd
The unique touch on metal by the band is probably no news to anyone - mixing classic hard rock, hardcore, black metal and so on became Kvelertak’s hallmark as time passed. Since their last album, their previous frontman, Erlend Hjelvik left the band, and last year a replacement also occurred behind the drumkit as well. And in that time it could have been guessed: the band is about to change, leading to the question: „how?”
The answer is here in Splid
: the band seemingly matured, and turned back to a somewhat softer sound. Let’s dig deeper, and examine what’s the case.
Probably the biggest change that everyone noticed is in the vocals: Ivar can scream really well, just like his predecessor, but the album contains lot more clean singing. Personally I wasn’t the biggest fan of this change, since I feel this had a strong blunting effect and feels a bit out of place. Second most important change is the generally softer style, which is now getting closer to hard rock than metal. I’m not saying the album doesn’t sound good anymore or lacks good riffs, but certainly less energic than what probably most of us expected. Each track is filled with parts that are seemingly far from the standards of what the band used to deliver – resulting in the whole thing lacking some punch, and the fury seeming more of a stylistic element than actual frenzy. (Just compare the song ’Nekrosoft’ to ’Nekroskop’ from their self-titled album!) Certainly, there are fans who enjoyed these changes, but personally the reason why I got into this band was how they could blend the raw energy of extreme metal with some sweet rock’n’roll.
Now, production-wise speaking, the band really made a step forward. They signed to Rise Records and all the recordings have been made in GodCity studio in Salem with the help of Kurt Ballou (from Converge). Some new sounds, more precisely, some new effects have been involved in the songs (like in ’Delirium tremens’ etc.) – and these were really welcomed changes, making the songs more separable from each other, resulting a more memorable experience to the listener. The mixing and audio quality is exactly what was expected from a - let’s say - bigger band nowadays. Each instrument sounds very good and there is really nothing to be complained about here.
Let’s summarize. All in all, Splid
was another step away from their original form, leading a band to a somewhat different direction. If you want to enjoy the raw and energic Kvelertak then stick to the first two LPs, but if you desire something easier to digest then you won’t be disappointed by this.