Kampfar: Djevelmakt

Kampfar-Djevelmakt

With the temperature outside dropping to bollock hide and seek levels, it seems appropriate that a new black metal review should grace the B&G interspace. As this is my first encounter with Kampfar a brief biog is as much for my benefit as for yours. Formed in 1994, and with their first full length release in 1999, the band then took a lengthy hiatus before reforming in 2006, since when they have release four subsequent albums. If you hadn’t guessed by now these guys are from Norway, and there is a good dose of the viking metal strain in their sound. The album art and design elements are taken from a 1981 oil painting by polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński.

To place Djevelmakt within the current musical constellation, I’d go somewhere between God Seed’s “I Begin” and “Ylem” by Dark Fortress, which is nothing but a compliment; here is another black metal act whose sound is full and interesting, and not hampered by a self imposed preconception of what the genre “should” sound like. Most of the songs incorporate keyboards, synths, or strings, but without them becoming the focus, rather adding texture to the raging blade cyclone of the guitar riffs.

“Swarm Norwegicus”, the album’s single, is a moody, inevitable stomp, funereal in tone, which leads into an anthemic chorus, building with the use of a synth which doesn’t overstep the mark. The stand out track on the album is “Fortapelse” with its extended keyboard introduction, leading into a series of melodically interesting and memorable rhythm progressions on the guitars. Another great track is “De Dødes Fane”, with its haunting spoken word refrain and Windir-esque central section, I have absolutely no idea what this dude is talking about but he sounds as bitter as a bucket of lemon rinds.

A great black metal album with a good balance between lacerating grimness and catchy-ass guitar riffs. Recommended for fans of Windir, Vreid, God Seed, Dark Fortress. Now, please excuse me while I go sit still for 8 hours until Behemoth’s ‘The Satanist” is released.

Deej

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