'Djevelmakt'is the sixth studio release and follow up to 2011's 'Mare', marking twenty years for Norwegian Pagan Black Metal quartet Kampfar.
The title means 'Devil Power' and digs deeper into the muck and bile of the underworld, bringing to light a world where rats feed on the blackest souls and where false choirs have no power, continuing on from 'Mare' which represented a journey into the world of the witches, past and present.
Although this is not a concept album, there is a strong lyrical theme running throughout, condemnation, anti-religion but not anti-human, considering; what is reality, what is a dream, where do we end up? Are we free individuals, do we decide our own path and faith?
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As a band they didn't catch my attention until they released 'Heimgang' in 2008 and since then have really upped their game even further with 'Mare' and continue to do so with this latest release, 'Djevelmakt', consisting of eight tracks and forty nine minutes of intense excitement, great musicianship and well crafted compositions.
Dolk's vocals are great as always, mostly deep harsh and rasping with some well placed deeply sinister spoken elements, the lyrics are again predominantly in Norwegian, which I like, the language has an intensity that naturally works well with Black Metal.
There's an exciting up tempo drive through all the tracks that just sweeps you along with the sound, beginning with the opening track 'Mylder', its piano opener building to the arrival of pulsating riffs, the first scream of "Helvete! I forbannede!", a track with a great flute segment also which puts an interesting slant on the sound and concluding with the powerful album ender 'Our Hounds, Our Legion', unleashing again the terror instilling, rasping, spoken vocals towards the end of the track.
My favourite track, 'Swarm Norvegicus', is the first of the two tracks predominantly in English and is lyrically a tale, to my mind, reminiscent of the Pied Piper of Hamlet, but darker. The opening deep spoken lyrics lend a strong sinister edge making it a powerful track, the other English lyric track is the previously mentioned 'Our Hounds, Our Legion'.
'Blod, eder og Galle' and 'Svarte Sjelers Salme' have an underlying folk groove running through them, an element that typifies Kampfar's sound, noticeably present but without it being too overpowering.
The album was written and recorded partly in Bergen and partly in Pärlby, Sweden, engineered by Jonas Kjellgren who helped engineer 'Mare' and the mixing is by Peter Tägtgren. For the first time, Kampfar have chosen to use pre-existing art for the design of the album. The cover is a 1981 oil painting by Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński, and the remaining design incorporates a second Beksiński painting, as well as a painting by English painter John Charles Dollman, all selected by the band before recording the album helping influence the direction of the sound as well as the lyrics and aiming to guide the non Norwegian listener.
If you have enjoyed their previous releases you will not be disappointed in this. 'Djevelmakt' is a great album and a worthy celebration of twenty years as a band.
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