Editors' Notes In calling their fourth album Splid—their native word for “discord”—Norwegian metal squad Kvelertak acknowledge a polarisation both external and internal. As political and social conflicts rage across the globe, the band experienced their own divisions when vocalist Erlend Hjelvik and drummer Kjetil Gjermundrød left in 2018 and 2019, respectively. “‘Splid’ is a cool-sounding word and also a good overall description of the lyrical themes on the album, with some of the stuff going on in the world today and band members leaving and new members coming in,” guitarist Vidar Landa tells Apple Music. “Our new singer Ivar [Nikolaisen] has brought new energy to the band, so it definitely feels like a new version of Kvelertak.” Below, Landa takes us through the songs of Splid.

Rogaland
“Rogaland is the area where most of us are from. So this is sort of a tribute and sort of a mild criticism of that region in Norway, because it brings in a lot of money for the rest of the country. Stavanger, the city where the band started, is the oil capital of Norway—that’s where Norway’s gold was found and distributed to all the citizens. So there’s a lot of resources in Rogaland. It’s a beautiful place, with some amazing beaches and fjords and mountains, but it’s also a place of big industry. A lot of the old black metal bands have songs about the epic Norwegian landscape, so maybe this is a more sarcastic look at those kind of tributes.”

Crack of Doom (feat. Troy Sanders)
“This is sort of the rock song of the album. We always have a couple of those. It was written not long after we were on tour with Mastodon in Europe. We’ve been fans of Mastodon for a long time—even before we started Kvelertak—and they’ve always been very supportive of us, so this was a cool opportunity to do something with them. We have other songs on the album that are maybe more similar to Mastodon, but we wanted to have Troy on a track that wasn’t typical of something he’s done before. This is also one of the only songs we’ve done with English lyrics. We thought it would be easier than having Troy learn Norwegian.”

Necrosoft
“This reminds me of the first couple of songs we did on our early demos and maybe on the first album. It’s a bit hard to translate the lyrics, but it kind of touches upon the idea of always wanting more, but at some point you have to make some choices. For example—even if you switch to a more environmentally friendly industry, as long as people always want more of everything, there’s always going to be a problem. There will come a time when people have to choose between the free flowing river and the electric guitar.”

Discord
“The title ‘Splid’ came up for this song, even though we didn’t have any lyrics for it when we entered the studio. Then we had Nate [Newton] from Converge and Doomriders sing on it, so we wrote all the lyrics in English. And then we decided it would be cool to have the song title in English, which is also the title of the album. The song kind of sums up everything the album is about in one song. And the main guitar part in the chorus was very fun to record because we used an arsenal of guitar effects and pedals.”

Bråtebrann
“I haven’t really found a fitting English description for what ‘Bråtebrann’ is, but I think ‘bonfire’ is maybe the closest you get. There’s a tradition with people in the countryside of Norway where they burn things to get rid of them, like grass and leaves. Every spring, some of these fires get out of control and the forest starts burning and the fire department has to come out and clean up. It’s actually a tribute to Ivar and his childhood friend, who used to set fire to stuff when they were kids. His friend would always get blamed, even when he didn’t start the fire. This friend tragically passed away in 2018, around the same time the song came about, so it’s a tribute to him.”

Uglas Hegemoni
“It means ‘owls hegemony’, and it’s basically a song about us, like our song ‘Kvelertak’ from Meir. It’s a song about how awesome we are.”

Fanden Ta Dette Hull!
“The title is a quote that basically means, ‘Damn this hole!’ It was written in an old jail cell where a thief and murderer was held. The guy was named Even Olsen Tagholdt, and he murdered a rich guy in Stavanger in the 1800s. His skeleton was on display at a museum in Stavanger for many, many years. Then a couple of years ago there was this debate about whether it was morally right to have human skeletons on display at the museum. So he was actually buried in 2018, very close to where Ivar grew up. This song is about his life and how he ended up as a thief and a murderer.”

Tevling
“We have a sweet spot for old ’80s and ’90s power rock ballads, so this has a riff inspired by that—even though it takes more of a typical Kvelertak turn in the chorus. So it’s our attempt at a power rock ballad. The riff also has a vibe sort of like The Police song ‘Message in a Bottle’. The title is an old Norwegian word for…well, sort of like a competition.”

Stevnemøte med Satan
“This means ‘a date with Satan’. The character described in the song is not doing very well. He’s sort of on a date with Satan. The song talks about how you can’t really get away from your own destiny, and then you sort of come to the end of the line to your final destination—which in this case might be hell. We did a tour with Mutoid Man, and they have a song called ‘Date With the Devil’, so maybe it was in the back of our heads to have a little tribute to them.”

Delirium Tremens
“I think the music sounds like psychosis, so ‘Delirium Tremens’ felt like a fitting title. I think it’s just a good musical description of how that state of mind can feel. The riffs kind of came out like stream of consciousness, which was very fun to do. So it’s maybe more experimental than anything we’ve done before. And it actually has every one of us singing.”

Ved bredden av Nihil
“The title means ‘On the banks of Nihil’. The main tremolo riff is one we’ve had laying around for a while. We all like it a lot, so we were very happy when we finally managed to make a whole song out of it. Lyrically, it’s a description of a wealthy middle-aged man with wife and kids, a big villa and a government grant—but he’s yearning for the abyss.”

SONG
Rogaland
1
5:22
 
Crack of Doom (feat. Troy Sanders)
2
3:53
 
Necrosoft
3
2:59
 
Discord
4
4:13
 
Bråtebrann
5
6:58
 
Uglas Hegemoni
6
3:32
 
Fanden Ta Dette Hull!
7
7:51
 
Tevling
8
4:07
 
Stevnemøte med Satan
9
4:29
 
Delirium Tremens
10
8:10
 
Ved bredden av Nihil
11
6:31
 

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