Three years after their previous effort, Kampfar return with their 5th full-legth album “Mare”. The Norwegian pagan black metallers seem to be in their second youth, after the 7-year break between 1999 and 2006, offering us their 3rd work the last 5 years. And if their previous albums “Kvass” and “Heimgang” were very close to their first works, “Mare” sounds quite different in my ears…
The album starts with a very powerful and solid sound and a dark aggressive mood. The lyrics of the first song are in English (!) and it doesn’t remind me a lot of old Kampfar and this frozen Norse forest feeling they created with their music. Luckily, most of the songs are in Norwegian, which in my opinion fits better in their music. Despite the many changes both in production and style, Kampfar remain at a very high level and all of their compositions are great! The more I listen to the album, the more it drugs me into its atmosphere and the more it makes me to want to listen to it again! Like always, their music is totally based on guitars and bass, without any synths to carry the lead melodies or enrich their sound. Amazing guitar riffing and solid drumming, combined with Dolk’s unique vocals are enough for them to create a very powerful, yet melodic album, with a surprising rich sound. This is definitely their most mainstream work. The overall tempo of “Mare” is slowed down, but of course there are faster parts too. Songs vary also in mood, since some of them have a more pagan folk feeling, reminding older Kampfar, while others have a darker atmospheric mood. The thematology of the album is still about Norse pagan myths, but is specializes on women (witches, etc.). As the band states on the booklet: “Mare is dedicated to the women who chose to walk their own path”.
“Mare” is undoubtedly a very good album. I maybe prefer their early works, due to my personal musical taste, but I surely like this album too, something reflected in my rating! Once again it is released by Napalm Records and it comes with an unusual for the band, but very artistic and beautiful, cover artwork. There is also a limited digipak version with a bonus song, as well as a black vinyl gatefold edition. Another great work (by far their best produced and most ambitious) from one of the best bands of the genre, totally recommended. You can get a taste of their music on the links below.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos