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Kampfar live review – London, Underworld

Battle-hardened Norwegians Kampfar return to London, with support from Vreid and Dreamarcher

The first band in this Indie Recordings showcase, DREAMARCHER [7] look notably well-presented, not something you can normally say at what is essentially a black metal show.

This perhaps isn’t the ideal crowd for the group’s genre-splicing sound, but their blend of abrasive hardcore/metal, progressive song structures and even near-pop sensibilities seem to win them a few friends tonight. VREID [9] have been to this city – and this stage – numerous times and as such Londoners have had the pleasure of witnessing their musical evolution firsthand. Right now the Norwegians are at the top of their game, with fluidity, effortless confidence and obvious chemistry within their increasingly blackened attack. KAMPFAR [9] are another band whose journey has been defined by steady musical shifts, not least since the departure of co-founder Thomas Andreassen. Despite over two decades of activity they are currently on a career high, both in terms of the quality of their most recent recordings and their live shows. Mercilessly tight, each member accentuates the aggression within these epic black metal hymns through sheer exuberance. Mean-sounding guitars, punishing percussion, suitably rousing melodies and the possessed vocal performance make for an invigorating experience.