Kampfar is a black metal band based in Fredrikstad, Norway. Besides the frostbitten black metal where their native country is known for they incorporate a solid chunk of folk music to spice things up a little. The band has been around in various incarnations since 1994 and they’ve got five full length albums under their belt, including their latest album, simply called Mare. Let’s see what the album has to offer.
I must say I’m quite impressed with the Kampfar’s latest musical exploits on Mare. Dolk and Co still deal in rather traditional Norwegian black metal with a massive folk injection, but for some reason the song material feels quite adventurous, even progressive at times. The Emperor inspired keyboard melodies on “Ildstemmer” are a great example of this. It’s not exactly new of course, but the way Dolk and Co implement this is quite innovative. The twisted and infectious melodies of “Huldraland”, “Bergtatt” and “Volvevers” get under your skin in no time.
The song material on Mare contains many layers, but it’s catchy as hell the same time. This may upset black metal traditionalists, but for me I simply love it when a band dares to look past the well defined boundaries of their own specific musical niche. Songs like “Blitzwitch” and “Nattgang” are two other wonderful examples of Kampfar’s musical prowess. Despite the adventurous nature of this album, they still manage to invoke the trademark frostbitten atmosphere of traditional Norwegian black metal. I simply love it.
The production of Mare is quite polished, especially for black metal standards. I wouldn’t have mind a dirtier sound, but it does fit their newfound sense of adventurism.
I find Mare by Kampfar a highly enjoyble effort. Dolk and Co dare to explore new ground and combine that with their songwriting prowess. I’m sure this album will find its way to a whole new audience. As for me, I’m simply hooked. Very impressive!