Kampfar
Heimgang

Pop this disk in and it takes only about twenty seconds to suspect it is Kampfar and less than a minute to be sure it could be no one else. All pervasive is the Kampfar sound and if you don’t know what that is by now expect to be turned into a frog by the resident troll hag. “Inferno” takes off at a fast clip before settling into a sustained trot. “Dødens Vee” has Dolk’s signature shriek with attitude, slightly upbeat guitar lines and folk drumbeats. Thomas’ classically folk tinged flourishes are evident but understated on “Skogens Dyp” and are the dominating presence on “Antvort“. “Vansinn” slows it down and lets each note resonate. “Mareham” has cool instantly memorable guitar lines and “Vettekult” has extended instrumental sections.

Kampfar is more about music than ambient noise and retain an ancient feel. Forget Grieg, forget Fintroll, Kampfar is always what I have envisioned Ibsen’s trolls blasting out in the dance scene. Just listen to the song “Fra Underverdenen,” especially the subtle croaks and groans and yips, and absorb the earthy feel very much in keeping with the troll ideal of musical expression. That aura is evident on every Kampfar disc and Heimgang is no exception.

In the past Dolk was the overwhelming force with his vocals and Thomas’ guitars were secondary, vital but secondary. Now the roles are switched a bit. Even the photograph in the booklet has Thomas in the foreground and Dolk in the background. Thomas really shines through. His style has always meant a great deal to the Kampfar sound but whenever Dolk kicked his vocals into high gear it became impossible to compete. Notably absent are the clean vocals and they have even cut way back on the crashing of cymbals. After a decade of listening both the black and folk aspects are held in equal stature by me so I wish Dolk had not toned down the vocals for Heimgang, not toned down, less diverse. Missed are the guttural roars of “Troll, Død Og Trolldom”, the shrieks of “Lyktemenn.”

Despite all this, or is it because of this, Heimgang is a stellar pagan black metal album and is guaranteed to be played by true fans for many years to come. Some bands have to try harder to impress fans, with Kampfar whatever they touch turns to gold.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
November 12th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Cynicgods

    LOOOOOOOOVE Kampfar. Miss the clean vocals, but still one of the best black metal albums of the year.


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