Having experienced a massive groundswell from their self-titled debut album, Norwegian metallers Kvelertak were destined to have their sophomore release examined by the world's largest magnifying glass.

A band's second album is often the most challenging to create, especially when you've just been signed to a giant label such as Roadrunner Records. However, Kvelertak have flourished despite pressure from all sides, resulting in the metal-meets-party rock release 'Meir.'

Perhaps the most notable characteristic of 'Meir' is … well … its character. While definitively Norwegian to the trained ear, 'Meir' acts as an injection of fresh blood into a saturated world of metal, where character is commonly abandoned in favor of allowing trends to dictate one's creative direction. Along with singing strictly in Norwegian, Kvelertak have shaped their distinct sound by blending elements of classic rock, punk, black metal and party rock along with a splash of modern experimentation.

The colorful 'Meir' includes gems such as its first single, 'Bruane Brenn,' which entices the listener to get their ass, jump around and sing along with the song's infectious chorus, even if they have no clue what the lyrics mean. Early tracks such as 'Spring Fra Livet' and 'Evig Vandrar' are far more open, with Kvelertak blasting crusty, big-bang endorphins into their sound, while reserving heavily instrumental and classic rock tunes for the end of 'Meir,' notably in the song 'Kvelertak,' which aids the listener in properly pronouncing the band's foreign moniker.

Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, who produced 'Meir' at his own God City Studios, deserves a great deal of credit for absolutely perfecting the album's sound. Ballou produced Kvelertak's self-titled record as well, but on 'Meir,' each track truly has it's own personality, shining a gigantic spotlight on how subtlety versatile both Ballou and Kvelertak can be.

'Meir' drags a bit towards the end, but the album is absolutely worth your time. For a sonic experience that will clobber your face, pop your eyes wide-open, light a fire under your feet and leave your neck sore, 'Meir' is the recommended prescription.