At its most enthralling, rock music feels like injecting adrenaline into your bloodstream then standing in front of a jet engine — eyes wide, ears blasted by the noise, hair blown back by the sheer power. Conjuring this kind of full-throttle sensory experience is rare on stage and rarer still on record, and making it sound joyous without compromising on shrill brutality is nothing short of a miracle.
Kvelertak, then, is one miraculous band. The behemoth Norwegian sextet plays black ’n’ roll, a version of balls-out party rock infused with the blood-curdling abrasion of black metal. On its Kurt Ballou-recorded sophomore LP, Meir, the band takes that monolithic ogre crunch to its apotheosis, channeling a breathless, bombastic spirit — something like F---ed Up without the conceptual baggage. It’s a pure rager, a record that sounds fantastic doing 85 on the freeway but begs to be experienced communally among the sweaty masses at a bar like Ace of Cups.
Cancer Bats and Black Tusk set the stage for destruction Thursday.