It might be hard to imagine anything that comes close to capturing the maximum intensity of a Kvelertak live show, but Nattesferd, the Norwegian outfit’s third offering, comes close. You can hear traces of early thrash metal here but this isn’t a band bent on being the heaviest of heavy. Instead, there are infectious hooks and rhythms that place this record closer to Judas Priest than Lamb of God. Sure, it’s hard to sing along because the lyrics are in Norwegian but that doesn’t mean you can’t try.

Classic metal might as well be synonymous with freedom. Go back and listen to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid and you realize that doom wasn’t the only thing on Geezer and Co.’s mind. There were detours into blues and jazz and plenty reasons why the titular tune became a radio staple alongside “War Pigs.” The men of Kvelertak more than know this: They’ve integrated it into their own music so fully that the music transcends persnickety genre boundaries.

“Dendrofil for Yggdrasil” bridges the gap between black metal and Thin Lizzy; “1985” finds the unit rockin’ like Dokken with hints of Accept and Priest thrown in. If you don’t play at least 36 measures of air guitar during its five minutes and 33 seconds, you might want to consider throwing in the musical towel. “Nattesferd,” on the other hand, gets down ‘n’ dirty, sounding more like something to have crawled from Black Oak, Arkansas or 1960s Detroit than Stavanger or Oslo. “Bronsegud” gives us Norway’s answer to the Ramones; “Ondskapens Galakse” shows that the lads probably have a well-worn copy of Def Leppard’s On Through the Night lurking in milk crates back home.

All that’s good about the record, all that diversity, all that passion and drive comes to a head in the nine-minute “Heksebrann,” which offers guitarists Maciek Ofstad, Bjarte Lund Rolland and Vidar Landa the chance to bring some serious sturm to the drang. That is, until the ultra-catchy choruses kick in and the listener lands smack dab in the center of Rock und Roll City. “Nekrodamus” calls to mind Wishbone Ash more than it does Metallica and one suspects this lot have probably been listening to some Fairport Convention or Jethro Tull in recent times.

Influences, though, aren’t what matter here. It’s about the range. That range is wide and on full display here even though it doesn’t make for a perfect record. One could argue that a few of the tracks overstay their welcome or drift too much when Erlend Hjelvik’s voice isn’t there to guide them. There will no doubt be those critical of Hjelvik’s lycanthropian wails, though this writer is not among them. All things here, the good and the bad, make Kvelertak a compelling band to hear. Moreover, they make the group all the more necessary. This is a metal band that doesn’t just play the party line but also doesn’t spread itself too thin in an attempt to please everybody. Yet, it can almost do exactly that with its know-how and dedication.

Kvelertak’s only three albums in here and it seems likely that the next record, when it comes, may be the one that puts the band over the top for once and for all. In the meantime, this very strong showing offers all the evidence you need that Kvelertak is one of the most interesting bands of this moment in time.

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