Mare by Kampfar (Napalm Records)
Kampfar has their musical roots dating back to 1994, and has since released some of the most stunning Blackened/Pagan metal albums the genre has ever witnessed. Remaining cult and elusive yet possessing an army of diehard fans the world over, Mare could be the album that breaks the band through to an even wider audience. Kampfar and producer Peter Tägtgren turn out to be a victorious combination, as the metal hymns heard within their Mare magnum opus is the stuff that metal legends are made of. Edging on Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon status with their underground credentials fully intact, Kampfar appears to be at the very height of their creative prowess.
The title track Mare opens the disc on a haunting, devastating note, presenting a full on atmospheric sound that is mesmerizing to behold. Ildstemmer continues the journey into the musical battlefield, featuring a section where the band speeds the punk up, making you want to dive headfirst into the nearest circle pit. An inspired composition to be sure, and one showing a willingness to push established genre boundaries – a little like the mighty Darkthrone has done on Circle The Wagons!
Huldreland is ominous and intensive, with chilling spoken word segueing into a march like dirge of static intensity. Bergtatt is thrilling and spiraling, a lament of epic proportions. Then there is Trolldomspakt, a magnificent work of artistry that impacts you from within.
Volvevers is vast and dynamic, like taking in a spellbinder cinematic adventure. Following is the mighty strains of Blitzwitch, a top-notch track sure to possess the dark spirit of metal heads all over the world. “Ride with the devil, light the torches” is a call to arms on Blitzwitch that many a black metal fanatic will heed for the years to come.
Nattgang is explosive and filled with a supreme intensity. The grand finale is Altergang, a driving sonic blast that concludes the mighty Mare on a staggering note.
A thoroughly satisfying effort from beginning to end, there is little doubt that Kampfar has unleashed a classic that will cement their standing as one of the most dominant bands on the world Black Metal scene today. Here is hoping that founding member Dolk and his co-conspirators make their way to the States to unleash their visionary compositions in a live setting. In the meantime, check out Mare and Kampfar’s other magnificent releases from Napalm Records. The time to discover the rewarding mysteries and intrigues of the legendary Kampfar is now!
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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