March 26, 2013

Ghost B.C. and Kvelertak

Given the region's excellent track record, it probably should come as no surprise to anyone this day in age that two of the most exciting metal bands on the rise in 2013 hail from the great Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Norway, respectfully. Much like AwkwardSound took a geocentric look at Nü Sensae and White Lung last year, this edition of BUZZSound unfolds two different extremes from the same heavy-riffed fault lines just beginning to be felt on the Richter scale this side of the world...

Ghost B.C.

It might be easy to look at Ghost B.C. and automatically think "ridiculous gimmick band," but behind the make-up and costumes are a seriously talented group of individuals -- If only we knew who they are. Since 2008, the black metal-pop collective -- led by the mysterious Papa Emeritus II, a skeletal pope-like character who kayfabe succeeded the original Papa Emeritus despite being the same dude, and six nameless ghouls garbed in druid costumes -- have evaded being found out. While it's rumored that the project is the mastermind of Tobias Forge, vocalist of Swedish bands Subvision and Repugnant, no one is for certain, and hence the on-stage theatrics and legend give their unholy marriage of Satanic shtick and occult-themes within flawless '60s pop, prog rock and heavy metal its added weight. Their 2010 debut Opus Eponymous was impressive enough to put huge fans of legit rock in their corner, with the likes of Mastodon bringing them out on tour last fall and Dave Grohl playing drums on the band's oddball ABBA cover of "I'm a Marionette," featured on their forthcoming sophomore effort and major label debut Infestissumam, due out April 16th on Republic. Ghost B.C.'s animated black metal church begins seeking new converts at this year's Coachella, followed by a full North American tour.


In Norwegian, Kvelertak translates to "chokehold," and that's exactly what this sextet from Stavanger has on the metal world this week upon the release of their Roadrunner debut, Meir. Together since 2007, frontman Erlend Hjelvik, guitarists Vidar Landa, Bjarte Lund Rolland and Maciek Ofstad, bassist Marvin Nygaard and drummer Kjetil Gjermundrød are the up and coming new blood in genre-crossing metal works who have one very important thing going for them, and that is they've been fortunate to find transcending acclaim on both sides of the black magic metal circle in their own chronically scrutinizing scene and that of the indie elite. Having friends and like-minded influences in all the right places doesn't seem to hurt either, as their heavy brand of guitar bashing tests the same decibel limits as Converge (whose Kurt Ballou produced Meir,) includes moments of prettied up prog à la Baroness (whose frontman John Baizley created Meir's cover art) while working at one pace, and that being a level similar to that of the fully-charged intensity as fellow Scandinavian hardcore punks Refused (whom Kvelertak opened for abroad during their final reunion tour run.) At the moment, they're assumed to be annihilating eastern Europe, but come this April, North America gets a taste of Kvelertak's nature of destruction when they tour alongside Canadian thrashers Cancer Bats.

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