The cold, desolate, and chilling album cover of Kampfar's latest Kvass is a telling precursor to the music contained on the CD itself. These Nordic black metal pagans now find themselves on a new record label, Napam Records, after having spent the last few years on labels such as Century Media, Season of Mist, and Hammerheart Records. This is pretty raw black metal here, along the lines of early Enslaved, Immortal, Dissection, and Darkthrone, and features plenty of haunting vocal shrieks (sung in their native tongue), tremelo picked guitars, and raging rhythms. There's an epic feel to each of the songs, not just brought about by the lengths of each, but based on the combination of fast and atmospheric parts, plus the effective production which again is raw but very powerful.
"Til Siste Mann" is one track that really sticks out, as it starts off in typical black metal fashion with speedy guitar riffs and menacing vocals, before closing out as a chilling and atmospheric monster that perfectly relays the desolate and cold characteristics of Norway. Pagan melodies permeate the rampaging "Ravenheart", while the plodding "Hat Og Avind" is a bleak and progressive number with haunting melodies and vocals that chill you down to the very depths of your soul.
In the end, Kvass works well and should become a favorite of fans of the classic Norwegian black metal style. It's not the most original sounding release you will hear this year, and a few of the songs do get a tad ponderous at times, but overall it gives you a solid glimpse of pagan black metal that is head and shoulders better than much of the black metal on the scene today.
2) Til Siste Mann
5) Hat Og Avind
6) Gaman Av Drommer