Review: Kampfar’s Djevelmakt is Deep, Even Without Pervasive Bugle


Kampfar’s sixth album, Djevelmakt, is black metal in the same way that Rotting Christ or Secrets of the Moon are black metal. That is: yeah, occasionally maybe, not really a whole lot, no. The distinction quite possibly falls entirely on your definition of the genre. If you’ll allow black metal some breathing room – various rock-based tempos, tendencies toward high gothic drama – then the Norwegian foursome most definitely qualify. If you’re a blast ‘n’ rasp purist who hates album art that would dare defy the grayscale, you might not get Kampfar.

Djevelmakt is filled with gritty hymns to… dunno, actually, since the lyrics are almost entirely spewed in vocalist Dolk’s native tongue. Kampfar are fond of opening their spiked anthems with some pretty instrumental ditty – flute, piano, synth orchestra – before scorching everything with an on-loan-from-Valhalla flame-hoofed steed stampede. “Blod, Eder og Galla” introduces a bassy pagan romp that, in steel-horned electric guitar form, carries throughout the entire tune. In “Swarm Norvegicus” and “Kujon”, growled mantras ride atop stomping rhythms and a mountain range of stringed tension. The ferocious violence that fills “Mylder” gives way to a lingering Gojira-style chorus while the cascading, serrated chords provide a metal escort for a flute filament running through the center of the song. The piano in “Fortapelse” brings a sweet shot of sensuality to the otherwise undiluted maiming.

Of course, if you’re waiting to hear about that one gimmick – pervasive bugle, or whatever – that sets Kampfar’s latest away and above all the metal you’re sure to hear this year, you can give up now. This album’s not about flashy first impressions, but give it time and the songs will sink in. Deep.

It comes down to this: you’ve just wasted a few minutes of your life reading about Djevelmakt which would have been better spent listening to Djevelmakt. Kampfar somehow found a way to bury the needle deep into the awesome zone while maintaining a subtle individuality. Utterly satisfying.

Kampfar’s Djevelmakt  comes out January 27 on Indie Recordings. You can listen to the song “Mylder” here and pre-order the album here.

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