|©1995 Season of Mist
Recorded as a duo, Kampfar's self titled debut EP is nothing more than an introductory "Hello [black metal] world" statement. The EP apparently repackages the band's demo with a third track added on. The music is decent, if slightly uninspiring, folk tinged black metal that some may call "Viking". I still am not sure about this tag. For one, I do not believe Vikings of centuries ago had amplified guitars with distortion pedals. Perhaps I'm splitting hairs and perhaps Vikings would approve of this sort of music. Maybe I'll write a dissertation on this subject someday and say hello to a few academic high-fives for my trouble.
Anyhow, before the last paragraph went entirely off the rails, I was pointing out the fact that although the music here is competently performed and moderately enjoyable, it's far from inspiring. Kampfar demonstrated some pretty decent songwriting on later releases, but one gets the feeling the duo was still getting their collective toes wet and hadn't quite managed to finesse the exact sound they wanted. While the foundation for their later releases is quite evident on this EP, it's also easy to see they were only going to improve from this point. As a result, this EP is best left for the completists and collectors out there.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 05/2010
|©1997 Malicious Records
4. Kledd I Brynje Og Smykket Blodorm
7. Naglfar / Ragnarok
As the black metal scene blossomed in the 90s like the noxious weed that it is, many bands rose to prominence, while others acted more as filler material. Many of these lesser noticed bands were in that position for obvious reasons: they just weren't all that good. However, a few quality bands managed to escape the ears of the record buying public. One such band is Kampfar, a Norwegian black metal band that offered up a more nature oriented Viking/Pagan/Glacier sort of thing. Rather than doll themselves up in the facepaint and funny bondage outfits, Kampfar instead gave us frozen Norse tundra images to digest while listening to their music.
Kampfar's musical menu isn't particularly complicated. The songs may be long-ish, but they are arranged quite well. The vocals are the basic black metal style, with the occasional Monks In Black Leather choirs providing clean backing chants. The songs stick to fast paced guitar riffing. None of this exactly sounds like it redefines black metal, but it really wasn't meant to in the first place. Rather, Mellom Skogkledde Aaser just tends to be pretty good throughout. It might remind some of early Falkenbach without the array of folk tendencies or perhaps a trim n' slim Enslaved. But note I said "might". Listener impressions often vary.
While no new mousetraps are constructed by Kampfar, it does stand as a very good entry into the uncontroversial segment of black metal that developed in the mid 90s. Mellom Skogkledde Aaser is a very solid debut that is recommended for those who wish to dig a bit deeper into the Norwegian black metal scene.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 01/2010