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Kampfar performing live in Oslo in June 2012
|Genres||Black metal, Viking metal|
Kampfar is a black metal band from Fredrikstad, Norway. According to their singer, Dolk, their name is an ancient Norse battle cry which means Odin or Wotan. The music of Kampfar can be described as Black Metal inspired by Norwegian folklore and nature. The band is currently signed to Indie Recordings.
The beginnings of KAMPFAR date back to 1994, as Dolk bid farewell to his former band Mock. His desire to continue expressing himself musically and to move ahead prompted him to seek new blood. He recruited Thomas to take on the guitar responsibilities and soon the duo began composing new material.
The two musicians, who possessed quite disparate musical backgrounds, soon developed a unique sound that was first presented to the public with the release of the MCD “Kampfar”. The self-titled MCD was followed by the full-length album “Mellom Skogkledde Aaser” in 1997. Although the album leaned heavily on Thomas’ folk influences, it still espoused Dolk’s Black Metal finesse.
With two releases under their belt, KAMPFAR continued to write and to produce new material. In addition, the band explored new lyrical territory and presented their fans with their first English lyrics. The song was part of the MCD “Norse”. The following year, 1999, Kampfar released their second full-length entitled “Fra Underverdenen”.
This particular recording, being darker and more emotional than its predecessors, saw KAMPFAR move away from some of the folk aspects and concentrate more on Thomas’ fondness for classical music. The result, however, was still very deeply rooted in the Black Metal genre.
Following the release of “Fra Underverdenen”, KAMPFAR almost disappeared from the face of the earth. It was the beginning of a long period of inactivity due to personal issues. Once resolved, KAMPFAR regained its momentum.
After bassplayer Jon and drummer Ask Ty joined the band during 2003, KAMPFAR focused on writing new material and finally accepted one of the numerous offers to play live. The band chose to premiere at the Moshfest festival in Halden, not far from their native Fredrikstad. The show’s success resulted in numerous Norwegian gigs and in the band’s first mini tour of Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands — a tour that also included some festival gigs.
In between rehearsing for their live performances and the writing of new songs, demos were recorded and in November 2005, KAMPFAR was ready to enter Silvertone Studio in Gamle Fredrikstad to record what would become the album “Kvass”. Working with producer Rune Jørgensen, the band recorded the album in 3 months time.
”Kvass” was well received by the metal press and the band performed at numerous festivals including legendary Wacken and With Full Force. Furthermore, a tour of Europe helped the band reach a whole new level of notoriety, encouraging them to quickly move forward with new material for the next release.
KAMPFAR once again remained true to the their primordial style and delivered raw Pagan Folklore Metal as it is meant to be heard. Piercing riffs, driving drums, and catchy melodies shaped their fourth full-length "Heimgang". The dark and yet majestic atmosphere, both clean and harsh, was again caught on tape by Rune Jørgensen of Silvertone Studio, Norway. Lyrically the album dealt with crossing over into the underworld, as told in Nordic myths and legends. "Heimgang" proved that alongside Darkthrone and Satyricon, KAMPFAR remained a forerunner and one of the last true originals of the scene.
KAMPFAR followed up with the album "Mare", which opened a new chapter in the Norwegians' band history, while delivering a true monument to black metal. The band achieved the difficult task of giving their sound new impulses without losing their unique style. Isolated keyboard passages and sprechgesang consorted with icy riffs, dark melodies, and oppressive drums. Dolk's raw vocals continued to set the pace, while giving songs like "Bergtatt", and the title track such intensity that they were left with no other choice but to crawl under the skin of even the most discerning black and pagan metal fans. The album was produced by none other than Peter Tägtgren (Abyss Studio), who provided the songs with a piercing and very powerful sound. "Mare" also proved to be the final release involving long time guitarist and composer Thomas.
With the touring schedule in place after the release of "Mare", KAMPFAR drafted in the talents of Ole Hartvigsen, already an experienced guitar player and songwriter, with a background from Emancer and Mistur. The band co-headlined Europe and North America as part of The Black Path tour, before headlining a second European tour, the aptly named Devilish Triumph. Yet more festivals were added and the cycle ended with the Barge To Hell cruise from Miami to Bahamas in late 2012.
The fresh blood provided another impulse by taking familiar elements into unfamiliar territory. The resulting highly forcused writing process injected an energy into Djevelmakt that spawned songs as diverse as "Mylder" and "Swarm Norvegicus" while keeping a strong musical foundation in place.
Djevelmakt is Kampfar's sixth studio album and part of the third creative wave. Up to 2003 the band was a two man outfit and released "Mellom Skogkledde Aaser" and "Fra Underverdenen" as well as several EPs. The second wave took the band into the live arena after completing the band with two more members and it bred another two albums: "Kvass" and "Heimgang".
"Mare" started the third cycle, and now "Djevelmakt" reaffirms that Kampfar’ s music is timeless, yet also very much a representation of Kampfar today.
Djevelmakt was written in the first half of 2013, with the band doing a single live appearance at France's Hellfest, and then recorded partly in the band's new home town Bergen and partly in Pärlby, Sweden. This time the band chose to work with Jonas Kjellgren, who also helped engineer Mare, with Peter Tägtgren being tasked with the mix. The setup that worked so brilliantly on Mare allowed the band to walk in and record in the most relaxed manner, allowing for a production that is as focused as before, although rougher and possibly even heavier than what we have heard from them before.
For the first time in Kampfar’ s history they have chosen to acquire pre-existing art for the design of the album. The album cover itself is a 1981 oil painting by Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński, and the remaining design incorporates a second Beksiński painting, as well as a painting by English painter John Charles Dollman. The works of art, selected by the band before recording the album, helped influence the direction of the sound as well as the lyrics, while also functioning as a guide to the listener, with the lyrics mostly being written in Norwegian.
Djevelmakt proves that 20 years of existence does not dull the blade, but grinds it into a sharpness more scything than ever before.
- Mellom Skogkledde Aaser (Malicious Records 1997, re-release Napalm Records 2006)
- Fra Underverdenen (Hammerheart Records 1999, re-release Napalm Records 2006)
- Kvass (Napalm Records 2006)
- Heimgang (Napalm Records 2008)
- Mare (Napalm Records 2011)
- Djevelmakt (Indie Recordings 2014)
Singles and EPs
- Promo (demo, 1994)
- Kampfar (EP, 1994)
- Norse (EP, 1998)
- Mylder (single, 2013)
- Swarm Norvegicus (single, 2014)
- Dolk (Per Joar Spydevold) – vocals
- Ask (Ask Ty Ulvhedin Bergli Arctander) – drums, vocals
- Ole (Ole Hartvigsen) – guitar
- Jon (Jon Bakker) – bass
- Thomas – guitar and bass (left Dec. 2010)
- ESP Eclipse
- ESP Surveyor
- ESP Araya
- ENGL Powerball
- EBS Fafner / Reidmar
- Rotosound strings (Drop D tuning)
- B-Stick drum sticks
- Line6 G50 Wireless
- Paiste Cymbals
- Richter straps
- Line6 POD HD500X
- MXR M80 Bass DI
- Huey, Steve. "Kampfar biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
- "Kampfar – Kvass Review". Heavymetal.about.com. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Kampfar – Kvass (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Metal CD Kampfar Kvass review (Black-Metal)". Auxportesdumetal.com. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Interview with Kampfar's Dolk". Metalteamuk.net. Retrieved 18 October 2011.