Kampfar is back with a new album but one essential ingredient is missing. These are the first recordings post guitarist Thomas. It was a major blow when I read he had left the band and one of those “what can they do to compensate for the loss” moments. The reality is they missed a few beats. The result is what I now spin with regularity, Mare. A fine album that does not measure up to past glories but surpasses most other ‘folkish’ black metal releases.

What better place is there to be than the realm of nostalgia? Time to turn the page and start fresh. Let’s rekindle the old magic with new rituals. This album is in fact the equal of the past two efforts once I admit Thomas is in fact replaceable. Though it lacks that magic and majesty that made the first two full lengths unforgettable. This disc is awesome for fans of the band and probably more ‘accessible’, I hate that term, than past albums but I still recommend newcomers to start at the beginning of the discography, you will be here at Mare before you know it, and don’t skip Kvass.

There are several cool songs that given time to sink in will become favorites. “Volvevers” swings, and the hooks keep you and vocals are by Ask. “Bergtat” is classic Kampfar guitar lines. “Huldreland” is already a favorite and features cool bass generated riffs and has a great opening minute and a half. It gets better from there. A nice atmospheric slow song in which Dolk’s vocal style gives a great representation of otherness. “Trolldomspakt” is the other new favorite I’ll single out. It has a subtle flair for the dramatic and lots of room for notes to breathe, even in the fast parts. The straightforward drumming sets the beat and propels the song, leaving ample space for the guitars.

The lyrics are unencumbered by complexity, with lines about day fading and the moon coming out, hiddenlands, fire, Seidr magic, trolls coming out of the cracks in the mountains, rock spirits, troll women with goat beards and brow horns, screaming troll cats, and wandering mountain folk, and the moon shining red… That’s it, run right out and buy Mare now.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
May 2nd, 2011


  1. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Awesome album!!

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