Now Beer/Hear This: PODCAST

One of my favorite parts of college was working at the radio station, and I miss DJing a lot. So I was absolutely thrilled when my friend Noah asked me to assist him with a podcast for Metal Sucks. The popular metal blog is looking for people to take over their podcast. I was happy to oblige with producing and recording one with Noah, who shares a similar awesome taste in music, especially metal.

We chose tracks from two bands we are equally excited about right now, Coliseum and Kvelertak. We even did a beer pairing- with New England Brewing’s 668 Belgian golden ale. Check it out here!

This is just a pilot, so it’s quite short. However, I’d love to do it more often, regardless if we get a gig at Metal Sucks or if it’s just a segment on here.

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REVIEW: Kvelertak “Meir”/Sixpoint 3Beans

I’ve been looking forward to writing this review for awhile now. I got into Kvelertak a few years ago when their first self-titled record came out and I fell in love with them. Now they have a new one out and they’re back to melt some faces!

THE RECORD: Kvelertak Meir Roadrunner Records 2013

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Wow, just wow. Oh wait- before you put this record on, you might want to get a better look at the artwork. If it looks familiar, it’s another stunning piece from the wonderful John Dyer Baizley, the painter who is also the vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Baroness. It’s not just in the artwork that Kvelertak collaborates with a prominent member of the metal community; Meir was produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, whom the band toured with last fall.

Kvelertak is one of the most fun metal bands in my book and their latest release does not disappoint. The album opens with “Apenbaring” that has a killer riff that starts off a little slower, but quickly brings in the vocals with full force. The fast, blast-beat punctuated tempo continues to go strong in “Spring Fra Livet”. The songwriting is something just about everyone, or at least everyone reading this beer blog, can relate to- being hungover and “getting your ass home” as frontman Erlend Hjelvik puts it. The title translates to “run for your life” in Norwegian, and I’m not sure if they were thinking of “Run To the Hills” by Iron Maiden while writing it, but I can’t help wonder if it crossed their minds.

“Bruane Brenn” has got more upbeat rock and roll aspects to it, while still maintaining that punch-to-the-gut feeling found when the double bass pedal kicks in. There is a video for this song as well which you can see below- and features child-versions of all the band members.

They even named a song after themselves on this record. “Kvelertak” is the last track on the record and keeps it slow and heavy for the end. The last few seconds end it abruptly, which only make you hungry for more.

Every song is hook-laden, whether it’s a chorus or a riff, or something else that will get stuck in your head all day. The lyrics are again all sung in Norwegian, but it definitely has yet to stop me from singing along anyway.

The sound of this record is not much different from the previous one, but in this case, that’s a great thing. Now that they’re on Roadrunner Records, this record will definitely grab the attention of people that might not have been on the radar of the first one.

THE BREW: 3Beans Coffee Porter- Sixpoint Brewing- Brooklyn, NY

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I think coffee and beer have a lot in common, actually. The way the senses all come into play to discover the taste profile and different aromas involved work similarly when tasting beer and coffee. So I’ve found coffee beers to be among the most complex of styles. That said, Sixpoint has a really winner with this one. Some may argue, but I love that their beers are in cans. They’re different than your average tallboys too- the can itself is skinny, and I think that really works well for 3Beans in particular since it brings to mind caffeine or coffee drinks that might come in the smaller, skinny can.

It’s a big beer, ABV-wise, at 10%. However, it’s incredibly smooth. I have generally drank this beer more often from the can than on draft. But it pours like a cup of black coffee, with a thin, cream-colored head. Smells like your favorite coffee shop first thing in the morning. Subtle carbonation, it’s definitely a nice end-of-the-night beer to enjoy, although I think it’s perfectly drinkable any time.

THE PAIRING:

To be honest, my dream pairing with this record would be with Kvelerbrau, a one-time beer that was made for the band for a show they did in Vienna. But since it seems that I won’t be able to drink it anytime soon, I went for the delicious 3Beans. Like Kvelertak, Sixpoint is a fairly new (formed in 2004) brewery that’s doing big things quickly. The fact that they brew in cans makes their beers easily accessible and much safer to consume at a metal show. I broke my nose last time I saw Kvelertak but I’m certainly happy that it was not from getting hit in the face with a pint glass.

It’s an easy beer to drink, but definitely packs a punch from the high ABV. I think that describes Kvelertak pretty well too- catchy hooks that are easy to get in to, but with a heavy, in-your-face quality.

The band will be touring this spring with the Cancer Bats and Black Tusk, which is going to rule. Check our tourdates here.

Live Hops: 3 Shows, 3 Beers

I caught a TON of great live music this past week. It would be really time consuming to write about each one individually, so I’m going to give you the highlights.

10/10/12

Rush- Webster Bank Arena- Bridgeport, CT

This is probably the one show I could go on for a long time about. I’ve never seen Rush before last week, which is a crime since they are one of my favorite bands. They put on a fantastic show at the arena in Bridgeport. Our seats weren’t close to the stage at all, but the sound was still good. I especially liked that it wasn’t a “greatest hits” show. Sure, they played “Spirit Of Radio” and “YYZ” and “Tom Sawyer” that get played about 10 times a day on a given classic rock station. But they delved into a lot of stuff from the 80s, with a good number of songs from Power Windows, Grace Under Pressure, and opening up with one of my favorite Rush tunes, “Subdivisions” from 1982’s Signals. They played 2 sets; the second of which covered more material from their latest release, Clockwork Angels. The on stage visuals were awesome. The stage was set up like a time machine, with weird props such as a popcorn maker, strewn about.

My beer of choice for this show was Murphy’s Stout, which, at 7.25 a pint, was not outrageous for arena pricing. Not a bad stout, but I would definitely choose a Guinness over it if given the choice.

10/12/12

Kvelertak/Torche/Converge- Club INT- New Britain, CT

Getting to see two of your favorite bands in the same week rules. So I was really looking forward to catching Kvelertak with Torche and Converge in New Britain. I sort of have mixed feelings about this show though. The last time I saw Kvelertak was possibly one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to, on a Rocks Off boat cruise with Skeletonwitch last year. So it’s not really possible to top that. But they still played hard for a short set. I can’t wait until they come out with a new record. Kvelertak was the band that I really went to the show for, so after their set I wasn’t as psyched up for the next two bands. I also got hit in the nose so even physically I wasn’t that into it. Torche rocked it though; they were heavy and super sludgey, two of my favorite qualities in metal. I have to admit- by the time Converge came on, I was tired, and not really digging the crowd for them. Really full of energy which was awesome, but not what I was into at the time. As for the venue- for a place I’d never heard of until now, I would definitely go back to Club INT again. It’s comparable in size to the Webster Theater in Hartford, but way easier to get to and navigate around in.

My beer of choice was Bud Light and a shot of well whiskey- and yes, I am counting these as one drink. They were equally awful. Much like getting hit in the face.

10/15/12

Silversun Pickups- Terminal 5- New York, NY

Driving to New York on a Monday night was on a spur of the moment whim. My brother had an extra ticket so I said sure. This is going to sound really cliche, but I remember listening to Silversun Pickups a few years ago and thinking, “this band is great. they’re going to be really huge”. Maybe playing a packed house at Terminal 5 two nights in a row isn’t HUGE, but it’s definitely not small. I just thought they had a really cool sound. Unfortunately I never really followed their music much since, although whenever I have checked out their records I have always enjoyed them. So when I saw them live, I definitely was more familiar with them than I expected. Their live show was great. The set was just the right blend of well known songs and ones off their new record. The sound was great too- the vocals were front and center and everything was mixed really well. I also really enjoyed the visuals- I just noticed the lights more than I have in other shows at Terminal 5 that night, and they really helped to visualize the music.

After 3 shows and much partying in a weekend, my liver and wallet were depleted. It was Tecate in a can, and it was pretty terrible.
Summary: A week of great shows but horrible beer drinking. It all evens out in the end.