Kampfar – Djevelmakt

Kampfar
Djevelmakt
Released 27th 2014
Pagan Black Metal
Released via Indie Recordings

‘Djevelmakt’ is the new album from the Norwegian pagan black metal band Kampfar. It is the long- awaited follow up to their 2011 release ‘Mare’. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the formation of the band.

After a haunting and atmospheric piano intro, the opening track Mylder paves a path of nightmarish visions enhanced by the anguishing cries of “Helvete!!” piercing their way through the listener’s eardrums. The aforementioned cries of “Helvete” tend to linger in your head long after the song has finished. Amidst the chaos an eerie, flute-like synth creates an illusion of tranquility and filters through all the way to the end of the song. Blod, Eder og Galle has a faster pace and a much more aggressive tone with the chorus sounding more like a collection of battle cries and shrieks. Even the guitar riffs have a harsh, abrasive feel to them.

Another track which caught my attention is the ultra creepy Swarm Norvegicus which in many ways feels like a continuation of ‘Mare’ both in terms of lyrical themes and overall atmosphere. It features a deceptively slow start; the orchestrated keyboard intro is quickly followed by a monotone doom metal -like guitar riff followed by singer Dolk’s shrieks of gloom and despair. Even when the guitars pick up the pace, switching to a more “rocking” style, the haunting shrieks persist maintaining the creepy atmosphere of the song. Then there’s De Dødes Fane which shows some variation in the traditional Kampfar sound, with the singer experimenting other vocal styles in addition to his usual shrieks and screams. It’s also one of the few tracks where the synth sound enters the spotlight and carries on throughout the song rather than being just a hint of melody in an intro.

Finally album finishes with Our hounds, our legion. It starts off with yet another deceptively slow intro with an acoustic guitar, which slowly gives in to more harsh guitar riffage and cries of doom. In some way it feels like part 2 of Swarm Norvegicus due to the numerous similarities between the two tracks such as a reference to the moon and the former announcing the apocalypse whilst the latter marking the beginning of a new era with legions “of nightcrawlers” taking over. It features the same harrowing atmosphere as its predecessors which makes it a suitable conclusion to this chapter in Kampfar’s history.

Overall, ‘Djevelmakt’ is a logical successor of ‘Mare’ in the sense that it basically picks up from where previous album left off. For once you can actually judge album by its cover-art, for this Kampfar devil is every bit as nightmarish and surreal as the painting you see before you.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

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