As thousands of metal music fans stream back into Oslo this week for the annual Inferno festival, always held during the Easter holidays, one of Norway’s most popular metal bands has lit an even bigger fire of its own. It’s been asked to warm up for none other than Metallica, when that legendary band launches its “World-wired” tour in Europe this fall.
“It’s an incredible honour to share the stage with the masters,” claims the Norwegian band Kvelertak, which literally translates to “stranglehold.” The band clearly has such a hold on its fans in Norway, and now will get a chance to reach out to Metallica fans all over Europe.
Kvelertak will play no less than 38 concerts on the Metallica tour in Europe, which starts in Amsterdam on September 4. The first round of the tour will end in Antwerp on November 3 before it resumes in Lisbon on February 1, 2018. Metallica will also play at Oslo’s own Telenor Arena on May 2 next year, and Kvelertak will be along the whole way.
“We’d known about this for around a month but didn’t dare to believe it ourselves until we saw the first ads (for the tour) released last month,” Kvelertak guitarist Vidar Landa told newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad. Metallica is considered the greatest metal band in the world, selling more than 110 million albums since starting up in 1981.
Stavanger Aftenblad reported how Metallica vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich have raved about Kvelertak themselves, and the Stavanger band was reportedly the only band that was asked to warm up for them on their European tour.
“It was Metallica that took the initiative for this, that’s what’s probably the coolest,” Landa said. “It wasn’t hard to say ‘yes.’ This will be a tour with only big arenas, the smallest holds maybe 15,000 people.”
Kvelertak has played at some major festivals like Roskilde in Denmark and by:Larm in Oslo, but mostly performs in relatively small venues for its enthusiastic fans. The band started up 10 years ago in Stavanger, known as Norway’s oil capital, playing hardcore punk with black metal overtones. The band members themselves call their music “necro ‘n’ roll,” and they’ve become wildly popular in addition to attracting rave reviews from music critics. Their latest album Nattesferd also won high praise and they’ve won prizes and Statoil’s million-kroner stipend as well.
The Metallica tour, however, “will be the biggest we’ve experienced in our career, it’s way beyond everything you think can happen,” Landa told Aftenbladet. The band has recently been touring in Norway, on a slightly smaller scale than what they’ll experience this fall, playing for fans from Alta in the far north to Grimstad in the south. Venues were, to put it mildly, different than those where Kvelertak will play with Metallica.
Oslo’s Inferno festival, meanwhile, was getting underway for the 17th time on Wednesday with metal music ready to be played loud at concert hall Rockefeller through Saturday. Among the bands on the program are Carcass, Abbath, Gorgoroth and Venom Inc.