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Kampfar > Mare > Reviews > quickbeam
Kampfar - Mare

Classic Kampfar - 90%

quickbeam, April 30th, 2013

‘Mare’ is the fifth full-length album from Kampfar, one of the most consistent bands around. They’ve never really provided a ‘wow’ album, but every one of their releases has been solid. You can trust these guys to create a good, enjoyable black metal record. ‘Mare’ continues that tradition.

It kicks off with the longest song of the album, the title-track ‘Mare’. It’s heavy and dramatic, and a memorable opener. It’s one of those rare Kampfar songs which I can sing along to, as the lyrics are in English. Dolk has a great voice for black metal: powerful and harsh, but you can make out the lyrics without too much difficulty. The album is well-paced; the slower songs are placed carefully between the faster numbers so it never gets dull (at least to my ears). These faster ones, keep in mind, would still be considered slow for black metal. No blasting on this record.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me like Kampfar are paying homage to Windir on this record. No fewer than three of the tracks (‘Ildstemmer’, ‘Blitzwitch’ and ‘Nattgang’) are highly reminiscent of the great Valfar’s project. I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense: these songs all sound fantastic and it pleases me greatly to be reminded of Windir. Kampfar do this brilliantly.

There’s no shortage of the classic Kampfar-sound on ‘Mare’ either, mind. Tracks 3-5 (‘Huldreland’, ‘Bergtatt’ and ‘Trolldomspakt’) all have that classic Kampfar ring to them – fans will know exactly what I mean. That sense of travelling through a troll-infested forest – Kampfar evoke these images like no other band! Great use of keys, as always. Bass is very strong on this album too. The guitar riffs are never complicated: this band puts more emphasis on simplicity, each riff getting plenty of time to work its magic on the listener.

The last song ‘Altergang’ is a bit strange as it’s by far the shortest track of the album (two and a half minutes). It has a nice piano intro but seems to be over before it begins. I would have preferred this track to be more developed in order to provide a suitably epic closer. That would have resulted in a higher mark. But nevertheless, ‘Mare’ is a great album, very catchy and instantly enjoyable. Recommended to everyone who likes their black metal a little bit slower and laid-back. Kampfar never disappoints.