Kampfar: Djevelmakt

Pagan black metal veterans still learning new tricks

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With 20 years behind them, Kampfar’s sixth record both pays homage to their history and reveals a desire to evolve along tangents similar to those that have seen Enslaved take dazzling steps into the great beyond.

Mylder is as strong an opening as an album could hope for, dark piano keys blossoming into a brooding riff and Dolk’s vocals taking a brash turn as the track builds to a thrilling pace. This rousing sense of power continues into Kujon’s turbulent double bass, alongside guitarist Ole’s rigid backbone of rhythm guitar.

Such core strength provides a framework for experimentation, horns, wind instruments and piano all playing their role in a flair for the theatrical revealed on Blod, Eder og Galle. Swarm Norvegicus’s brooding consternation sadly kills the momentum, hurting for the militaristic clarion call to which the rest of the record marches, but the seductive hooks present in much of the second half rapidly redeem this.

Djevelmakt is the sound of a band taking steps out of their comfort zone, and if it continues apace, exciting things lie ahead.