Released: 2006, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Seven years…seven fucking years, it took them.
And yet…it’s like they never left. Whether it’s due to the sizable clutter of bands floating around the Norwegian scene, the glut of pagan/Viking Black Metal, or simply the fullness to which this album completes the concepts presented on the last (1999’s underrated Fra Underverdenen
), Kampfar strike out of their dank Nordic basements storming with menace, with all guns blazing and all churches burning as if they were just hot off a tour.
The somber notes and grim chords of opener “Lyktemenn” tell the tale: this is cold and icy, but will warm your heathen heart with glow of melting idols burnt to older gods. Obvious elements aside (polka beats, tremolo riffing, folk elements, etc.), the vocals make the deal, contract in blood that it is. Rasped with wired abandon, like a wounded vampire with a taste for Lucky Strikes, if this doesn’t curdle the blood of Christians, nothing will. Vocalist Dolk howls and screeched right into your very soul (or would if you had one), with a series of inspired moans, shrieks, and war-cries layered neatly in the background. I haven’t heard vocals layered this effectively since the first Deicide record, and in this since, the band stands out.
Thematically, we’re dealing with Windir-inspired rape-and-pillage War Metal, which often brings to mind Enslaved’s Frost record. Most of the tracks are lengthy, but move at lightning pace. This isn’t Einherjer—you won’t be bored here. At nearly eight minutes a piece, nearly three tracks had passed me by before I’d even known what hit me.
This is recommended to enthusiasts of all things cold, icy, Nordic…or anyone with album covers where they play guitar in the snow. Highlights: “Lyktemenn,” “Ravenheart.”