In Pictures: We go backstage with Kvelertak as they support Metallica

Kvelertak walking onstage at the O2 arena London
(Image credit: Grace Chapman-Duke)

Last weekend, Metallica headlined the O2 arena and broke the record for the largest attendance at the south-east London venue. Which is pretty sweet. And who joined them in this victory? Their support band Kvelertak!

The Norwegian black ‘n’ rollers have long been a favourite of Hammer’s, since we first got our hands on their self-titled debut album, and seeing them on the massive stage in the centre of the O2 was spectacular – there aren’t many bands who can win over an arena by walking onstage wearing an owl!

Lars Ulrich pays a visit to Kvelertak

Lars Ulrich pays a visit to Kvelertak (Image credit: Grace Chapman-Duke)

“Playing live has always been a big thing for us, we always want to put on good shows,” vocalist Erlend Hjelvik tells Metal Hammer. “I think we put on more of a spectacle than we were doing in the beginning. I used to do this thing where if someone fucked up, like the drummer stopped playing or whatever, I’d just get completely naked! I’ve stopped doing that, haven’t had to do it for a long time.”

Kvelertak performing in the round

Kvelertak performing in the round (Image credit: Grace Chapman-Duke)

Kvelertak released their third album Nattesferd last year, but the majority of the set tonight comes from Meir and the first record.

“There’s one song, Berserkr, that we still play live but we don’t really play many off the new album,” says Erlend. “We’ve started going back to playing the old stuff because we’ve been playing the new stuff for so long.”

Kvelertak waiting to go onstage at the O2 arena

Kvelertak waiting to go onstage at the O2 arena (Image credit: Grace Chapman-Duke)

Erlend continues to say that their first ever UK tour with Converge had a big influence on the way Kvelertak play now, putting on really intense shows night after night, but Metallica also inspired the Norwegian wrecking crew. On Sunday and the following Tuesday, they’re very much in Metallica’s domain, playing to their crowd in the round, which isn’t something many bands can say they’ve done.

Do you like playing in the round?

“I was a little nervous playing on a stage like that in the beginning,” admits Erlend, |we’re used to a normal stage but after the first show we got used to it and just started owning the stage. There are six guys in the band so its pretty easy to fill out!”

Kvelertak tour dates

Oct 25: Think Tank, Newcastle
Oct 26: SSE Hydro, Scotland (supporting Metallica)
Oct 27: Corporation, Sheffield
Oct 28: Manchester Arena, Manchester (supporting Metallica)
Oct 29: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Oct 30: Genting Arena, Birmingham (supporting Metallica)

The 10 best Black Sabbath songs, by Kvelertak's Erlend Hjelvik

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