For a party-friendly metal-punk band like Kvelertak, "Spring fra Livet" sure is a curveball. The stomping, AC/DC-style intro? That's a party-starter. But 20 seconds in, there's a twangy, melodic riff that sounds like an Allman Brothers-indebted '90s alt-rock band, like Better Than Ezra or Toad the Wet Sprocket or maybe just the Empire Records soundtrack — if the Empire Records soundtrack were about to lay into a blast-beaten chorus. Respectfully, Kvelertak, just what is going on here?
Frontman Erlend Hjelvik, who says he wrote the song's words while hungover in Oslo early one morning, writes over email that "Spring fra Livet" (Norwegian for "run from life") is about "getting your ass home," jokingly adding that the song has "the most 'emo' lyrics on the album." That doesn't help much, but what does come across — not only in this track, but throughout the Norwegian band's second album, Meir — is shimmering poptimism in the face of commercially unpopular heavy music.
Not that pop music is anything new to metal or punk, but the balance can separate or unite lifers and spectators alike. That was part of the untamed charm of Kvelertak's messy debut. But Meir's approach is as diverse as it is obliterating, not unlike F---- Up's undefinable and hook-heavy hardcore — which, given Kvelertak's live reputation, would make for a hell of a double bill. "Spring fra Livet" is a good example of that balance: musically inclusive, but still outrageously ravenous.
Meir comes out March 26 on Roadrunner Records.