Kampfar’s "Heimgang"

For devout heavy metal fans, a project that may have been escaping discovery is Kampfar, a Norwegian extreme metal band. 

Since the mid-1990s, the band has been offering a brand of black metal with pagan metal influences, delving into Norse themes. The band released Mellom Skogkledde Aaser in 1997, and two years later, Fra Underverdenen emerged. The mid-2000s showed Kvass, and Heimgang was released in 2008. The most recent, Mare, made its appearance in 2011. Revisiting Heimgang is a delightful trip into dark musicality–dark metal musicality. 
Heimgang was released in 2008. Image courtesy of metal-archives.com

Upon immediate recognition, is that Heimgang is best described as black metal with hints of melody thrown in. “Vantro” drifts along as an eerie instrumental introduction, its dark repeated melody melting into “Inferno”; that particular track is not bashful about allowing black metal elements to roam throughout and carry themselves into the rest of the album.

“Dødens Vee” kicks off with a surprising, prominent rhythm, coated with a catchy melody.  The following track, “Skogens Dyp” charges forth and meets “Antvort,” a would-be speedy number that  fades into a slight groove. “Vansinn” carries a heavy sentiment but has some bits of lightheartedness, as if it is that of a dancer.  The nature of “Mareham”  rests as a less active role player of the album, drained of character; “Feigdarvarsel” epitomizes a black metal familiarity, with its bitter tonalities.

A stark contrast to the aforementioned song is “Vettekult,” which begins with harmonized guitar strumming and has an overall sedated, melancholy atmosphere. What the concluding track, “Vandring,” exudes is more rhythmically drowsy rather than spiritually low but will capture listeners with a hazy appeal.

Audiences will not have to fret about Heimgang having a less than stellar production; instruments can be distinctly heard, including the harsh vocals that appropriately settle within the tracks. Some songs lose their individual appeal, as they transition. Though, most tracks on Heimgang are fully developed, likable efforts, namely “Dødens Vee” and “Antvort.” In its entirety, Kampfar’s Heimgang has captured distinct waves of melody throughout its black metal core, capable of impressing the extreme metal seeker who craves jabs at harmony.

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