KAMPFAR – Mare
"Mare" is the fifth full-length from pagan black-metallers Kampfar. The first thing that strikes you about this CD is the cover – three people covered with red sheets and the logo written in a little circle that looks like a sticker. Very unusual for the genre, and I don’t think it works on any level.
Thankfully, as soon as the music starts it becomes apparent that any mistakes on this release are limited to the dodgy cover. Kampfar play a folk/Viking edged type of black metal, and although you will recognize all of the elements individually, the way in which they have been compiled here is actually quite atypical and original. Most of the songs are mid-paced, with heavily layered guitars providing a rich, warm melody. This sound is bolstered by well-integrated keyboards and the drumming is varied and dynamic, focusing on emphasizing certain parts of the song rather than creating a storm of blast-beats. Dolk’s vocals are still cold, but his shrieks are more epic than harsh, complementing the rest of the instruments well.
"Mare" is a very accessible release and fans of this type of music will enjoy it. The only reason it falls short in my view is that the songs can become a little samey and that I prefer black metal that is more necro and lo-fi.