Having just met Dolk and Thomas in their rather black shiny tourbus for an interview. I must admit I was a bit taken aback as the lights dimmed and the band prowled on to the stage. These calm, well spoken, cheery lads I had spent half an hour or so with laughing and joking had just hit the stage as Kampfar. The pagan/folk Norwegian death metal band. And what a transformation it was.
Gone was the blonde smiler and in it’s place, a glowering, snarling frontman that looked like he would happily slit all of our throats before breakfast.
Dolks vocal doesn’t really need much of an introduction, if you’ve heard them you’ll know what I mean. But for avoidance of doubt. This is a voice akin to Laiho, but far deeper and menacing, with mid range surprisingly intelligible harsh and sometimes gutteral growls. He is a sight to behold with his blonde mane and black leather gauntlets, owning the centre stage with a fierceness that the crowd lapped up. The immediate thing you can’t fail to miss is that the band do not subscribe to the Â stereotypical corpse paint, in fact, they aren’t stereotypical in any way, but the paint wasn’t required for the atmosphere in the room to explode into an undulating sea of windmilling horn throwing animals when the opening track graced their ears and punched all of their teeth out.
I had asked Dolk why he sang in his native Norwegian, and he had explained that he preferred to be able to sing naturally..I could now understand why. The depth of emotion hurled out with every line could raise the hairs on your arms, even though they were drenched with sweat. This was a band that meant every single fucking word they sang..and the crowd knew it. I watched as the slathering Brits growled along with their favourite tracks, so the language barrier meant nothing with a delivery such as this. Offering up tracks from Heimgang, Â Norse and Kvass as well as from new release Mare, gave the eager sweating maelstrom something to feel familiar with, and showcased perfectly what Kampfar are all about, where they’ve been, and where they are going. The tracks from Mare were received particularly well, and by well, what I actually mean is the floor of The Underworld was a whirlwind of chaos and arms.
Technically Kampfar were astounding. No other word for it. The drum patterns were an ear numbing mixture of blast beats and intricately well timed patterns, expertly and aggressively delivered, and the guitars were intense and beautifully melodic, nodding their head to the norse pagan influence, but with no folk instruments at all, it was difficult to categorise this as folk/pagan metal, as it was as hard as fucking nails pure black, of course, sounding far heavier live than recorded.
When the set finished..the fans didn’t leave..instead standing front and centre, shouting for more. With some of the band coming back to shake the desperately outstretched hands of the crowd. It’s times like these you wish venues didn’t have to close.
To Listen to Kampfar on CD, you’d never expect the ferocity of the live show, and live is where they really smash it. In your face. Repeatedly. With black, spiked, Odin size clubs.
Fox Rating: 9/10 – A Blistering, pit inducing death metal performance with no need for paint.
Mare is available from Napalm Records HERE
Interview with Kampfar will hit Planet Mosh soon..