Erlend Hjelvik, co-founder and former frontman of Kvelertak, has unveiled his new band Hjelvik with debut single “North Tsar.”
Hjelvik’s new solo project successfully blends black and heavy metal with a large dose of Viking inspiration. The singer writes himself into a Scandinavian war in the violent music video for “North Tsar,” which depicts an epic battle in a Viking village with a dastardly, gory result. Fortunately for those with an easily upset stomach, Hjelvik have also released a censored version.
“It was a cool experience, the day corona-restrictions lifted, I took the first flight from Norway to Poland and we shot the whole video in one day in a Viking village called Jomsborg,” Hjelvik recounted in a statement. “[Production house] Grupa13 did an excellent job with their team including well-trained Viking reenactors, an amazing SFX crew and even brought in wolves and a huge raven. It was an intense and efficient shoot.”
He added, “It felt crazy to be standing in the middle of a Viking battle while performing my song, especially since the village was open to tourists who appeared midway through to stand there, gawk and take selfies… making the experience slightly more bizarre!”
Lead guitarist Rob Steinway, rhythm guitarist Remi André Nygård, bassist Remi André Lieu and drummer Kevin Foley round out the band’s personnel. The quintet’s debut LP Welcome to Hel draws inspiration from Norse mythology and history and was written following the singer’s departure from Kvelertak in 2018.
Kvelertak released their first new music without Hjelvik late last year, announcing Ivar Nikolaisen as their new vocalist on the song “Bråtebrann.” Earlier this year, they released their latest album Splid.
Welcome to Hel will arrive on November 20 via Nuclear Blast. Watch the censored music video for “North Tsar” here:
And watch the NSFW version below: