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On disc: Kampfar

Mare - Mike Thompson - 7 stars


(Napalm Records - 2011)

Norwegian band Kampfar has, since its inception in 1994, released four acclaimed pagan black metal albums. Mare is the fifth release and continues the band's musical traditions.

I've listened to this album several times since getting the promo and I still can think of barely anything to write about it. I kept zoning in and out and despite my best efforts I kept getting distracted very easily which just tells me that this isn't a classic album. Its a decent listen overall but nothing new or particularly exciting. I'll make it clear that there is nothing inherently bad about Mare, its just that the songs aren't interesting enough and overall it just seems a little bland. Compare this album to 1999's Fra Underverdemen and you can tell it is the same band but the earlier album just had a little bit more bite to it that kept you listening where Mare just seems, sad to say, uninspired.

I feel a little gutted in writing this review. I enjoy Kampfar's music in general and it is certainly not a question of talent or songwriting ability that drives this album down, nor would I say it is an issue with the production (handled by Peter Tägtgren) as the sound is full and pleasant and all the instruments sound good. I cannot put my finger on what this album is missing, other than to say it is that elusive X factor. Overall this is one for the true Kampfar completionists as your collection will be none the worse for missing this album.

7 stars

Mike Thompson


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