(Last December, guest writer Johan Paulin compiled for us a wonderful feature on metal bands based in the relatively small town of Umeå in northern Sweden. Today he rejoins us with a lively show report from Umeå, along with photos he took at the event.)
While the rest of Umeå celebrated its inauguration as the 2014 European capital of culture (if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, neither do we), I headed out to the old slaughterhouse outside of town where Kvelertak, Spiders, and Håll det äkta were preparing to fuck shit up in a most royal of ways.
Truth be told, I was never really sold on Kvelertak’s eclectic mix of punk, metal, and Norwegian insanity. But their second album Meir had slowly warmed me over, and besides, given Umeå’s shitty geographical location, you’re pretty much required to attend whenever a foreign band shows up or have your metal license revoked.
Local band Håll det äkta started off the night with their nimble one-two bursts of hardcore smackdown, channeling both Refused’s first album as well as Gorilla Biscuits and Earth Crisis. With slightly silly lyrics in Swedish and a nasal singer, the band might seem like an acquired taste, but what they lack in vocal brutality they more than make up for with intense tremolo guitars, authoritative drum beats, and instantly mosh-worthy breakdowns that sent the crowd into a pit-frenzy. The band has a strong local following, and their dedication carried the band whenever they happened to lose the plot.