When metal-archives.com went online I started systematically entering bands in alphabetical order with a few exceptions for some of my favorite bands that no one else had submitted yet. Among the first was Kampfar. I remember where I bought the Kampfar mcd back in 1994, one of those defining moments like where were you when JFK got shot. It was a long wait for new material back then, but not as long as the wait for Kvass. After years of reading about a new album in the works on their web page I’m finally holding it, and after the initial shock wore off I figured out how to play it. I’m actually listening to new Kampfar! Since I’ve got every second of every Kampfar song committed to memory it’s great to have new material. Put this disc in and it takes less than one minute to get in a Kampfar mood.

If what first comes to mind is the opening minutes of “Balgalderkvad” you will not get any of that this time, nor the great shrieks of “Naglfar.” The clean vocals of “Hymne” are sadly absent as well. Instead think “I Ondskapens Kunst” but slower. Everything else is in there. The hypnotic mesmerizing guitars with classic flourishes, great harsh vocals and bombastic drumming all built around solid riffs that stick with you. Norse pagan folklore black metal about covers it.

Picking favorite songs here is tough. Mellom Skogkledde Aaser is one of those near perfect albums so you know which songs are my top six, that is carved in stone, but several songs here have the potential to round out my Kampfar top ten list. “Ravenheart” and “Ildverden” get the nod for now but all the songs are about equal, it is just an extra cool riff here and more venomous vocals there that make those two tracks stand out. The recurring riff in “Ildverden” is still playing in my head. I think I need to take a trip to Europe to see a live show. Might as well point out that the cover photograph is nice and sharp with ice crystals on the grass clearly visible. Rarely does a highly anticipated album live up to high expectations, and while not as heavy on the folk elements as I ‘d hoped, I really cannot find anything to complain about.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
May 11th, 2006


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