Archive for dark fortress

Kampfar: Djevelmakt

Posted in Black Metal with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2014 by Badass and Grim


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.



Dark Fortress – Gig Review

Posted in Black Metal, Gig with tags , on November 18, 2012 by Badass and Grim


The night was perfect, dark, dank and gloomy – the perfect setting for a black metal gig. Due to lady commitments i arrived to the gig late unfortunately missing out the opening act of Bloodguard. Their MyFace describes them as “Darkly melodic, deceptively progressive, heavier than the gates of hell… ” and given as i heard none of them i can only agreed whole heartedly that that’s exactly what they sounded like.

Firstly let me just put something about the venue, it is what you’d call unique. Imagine your dads local, pub carpet and all, now put a brick shed on the back and let extreme metal pump out from there. The dichotomy between the generic pub setting with Come Dine With Me on the bar TV with blast beats and corpse paint genuinely tickled me. Anyway’s pint now in hand the first band began, Ethereal from Liverpool. Billed as blackened death metal i struggled to exactly get what kind of sound they were going for, glimmers of Anaal Nathrakh & Satyricon punctuated their 30 minute set but overall i was left wanting. There was no bottom end at all, the bass twanging like broken spaghetti throughout and whilst vocalist Diesektor’s rasping growls had flickers of a more Northern Tomas Lindberg it just didn’t gel for me.

After a quick giggle at an Orange Goblin photo circa 1992 and grabbing another pint i stepped into the Necroshed for the next band, Saturnian, hailing from all parts of the UK apparently. Extreme symphonic metal was promised and they didn’t fail to deliver. Imagine Dimmu, circa Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia era, mashed up with Primordial whilst verging on Fleshgod Apocalypse in the more extreme phases, all delightfully delivered by a very bald Wilson on vocals. Personally i found some passages a bit dull, some of the lead work was a bit too power metal for me but the crowd were enjoying another quality UK symphonic metal band.

The time id been waiting for was fastly approaching, the black metal demons, Dark Fortress. Bizarrely due to the tiny size of the venue id watched Dark Fortress do their make up through the open dressing room door, like some filthy black metal voyeur, and then watch them lug their equipment onto the stage, spare guitars laying in the corridor to the toilets. Not only was the venue comfortable the stage was definitely going to be for the 6 Germans.

After the shortest of intros, the opening riff of Osiris blasted out, all worries regarding sound quality shattered, and thankfully so. There’s no denying the venue was odd, the crowd small (given there were 4 bands playing plus hangers on there could have only been 10+ paying customers) but Dark Fortress were tight. Promptly following on from the crushing Osiris was Hirudineans, slower and more sombre in its nature but the crowd still windmilled like dervishes throughout. The thing that struck me the most was vocalist, Morean, measured almost dirge like vocals that drag you under like a riptide and drown you in his icy utterings. Their hour set flew by with Catawomb & Ylem providing some grade A slabs of black metal for the willing crowd to get stuck into, all culminating in with Baphomet, everyones arm now raised, horns thrown to the crammed stage.

I hadn’t seen Dark Fortress before but they’ve left a lasting impression and given the intimate nature of the venue i got a fantastic show at a bargain price. Even the walk home was grim, yet more gloom leading to an empty cold bed but i didnt care fur Dark Fortress ist krieg!