Record Label: Indie Recordings
Unless you’re glued in a relatively permanent fashion to the BMP YouTube channel then the odds are that you’re going to miss certain Black Metal releases. With Norway’s Kampfar, I seem to have missed an entire band and all of their output. That of course is not a disaster, it’s always a pleasure to discover new bands, even if they have been around forever. It’s just a little awkward to compare and chart the band’s career progress, especially if you have missed 8 previous albums stretching back to 1999, as is the case here.
Kampfar Immediately comes across as a mid-paced, (with occasional flashes of speed) very polished and professional-sounding outfit. The instrumentation is flawless, the production solid and the vocals tick all the required BM boxes. Atmospherically the album lurches from epic Viking metal to symphonic Black Metal, hitting most of the compass points in between. “Urkraft,” the second track on the album is a fine example, with the hyper-speed middle eight giving way to a Darkthrone-esque punky section, followed by some serious shirtless beardy Viking axe-waving anthemic epicness. All quite exhausting but great fun. “FandensTrall” keeps the far Northern flame burning with a furious atmosphere, aided and abetted by Viking choirs and occasional traditional instruments making their way to the fore.
It must be said that nowhere on this album are you going to find anything you haven’t heard before. In a genre so vast and so saturated, it’s difficult to stand out and Kampfar does seem to be a perilous example of this. But by no means should you let that put you off giving Til KloversTakt a spin. It’s an album that is very much worth hearing. It won’t go down as a classic, and it’s not going to stand out at the front of your collection. Nobody will be buying special edition vinyl and nailing them to their walls, surrounded by Kampfar scarves and posters. Rather this album will sit happily somewhere near the Katatonia albums (assuming you arrange your collection alphabetically) and when the mood strikes, when the snows come and the nights are getting longer, this could well be the album that’s reached for. Just be careful to watch what you’re doing, don’t lose focus and accidentally pull out the Kajagoogoo Greatest Hits album. That loses you Cool Points.
So yeah, not bad at all. Nothing particularly new, nothing bad and it’s worth your time and effort. Til KloversTakt is a worthy addition to your Viking collection. It won’t set Valhalla alight but if you’re a newcomer to the band, then this is a fine introduction.