Napalm Records 2006
It has been a tremendously long time since Kampfar has graced us with one of their nature inspired heathenish black metal. So what has changed in the interim? After listening very intently to Kvass I would say nothing. The folky melodies, the ice cold black metal, Dolk's eternally grim vocals, it's all there just as we remember it. Kampfar for me is sort of a refreshing blast of stale air. I mean that they make music that is of the early nineties but are unleashing it still in the new millennium. They understand the right way to weave compelling folk melodies together with traditional Norwegian black metal in such a way that it stirs my soul. A perfect example of this is on Til Siste Mann around the 5 minute mark where it drops from blizzard inducing black metal riffs and drops into softer guitar melodies underpinned with a somber piano. I absolutely love the part on Ravenheart where the riff breaks and a piano is the only sound and continues on with the line of the melody then the guitars thunderously crash back in. Later in Ravenheart this same feat is repeated but with a solitary guitar instead of a piano. There are 7 tracks on Kvass with each track being fairly lengthy, the shortest is over 6 minutes long. The production is crisp with a nice hint of fuzziness to the guitars and cymbals which lend the music a very organic feel which I am certain is what they were aiming for especially since Nature seems to be the root of all of Kampfar's inspiration. The booklet is arrayed with pictures of icy and forested landscapes and are the perfect visual accompaniment for the music to be found on Kvass. Everything about Kvass reeks of the elder times from whence we remember Kampfar freely wandering the musical landscape. I am usually a proponent of a band not really evolving too much, and luckily Kampfar have stayed truth to that ethos. Let's hope Dolk and company don't wait so long before they unleash their next album.