ALBUM REVIEW: Kampfar – Profan


WORDS: Laura McCarthy

Profan is the newest album from heavyweights KAMPFAR, who prove with this latest release that there is still a lot of life in the Norse Black Metal, with a new video and some incredible tracks.

Kicking off with Gloria Ablaze, this is very much a road down into the depths of disjointed, warped tones. The vocals are grimy and gritty, angry and vexed. The music itself if classically KAMPFAR-melodic, and gradually growing in intensity. It’s a wonderful opening track, drawing on your dread and dragging out a strange pleasure from the doom and melody.

Profanum is deeply effecting. Tonally, it includes some great riffs while the vocals churn over belting drums. Heads will roll to this track, and thrashing is inevitable. It’s a very well mixed track, as through the chords there are some subtle moments, slower riffs where the dread and the melody really has time to build. The drums intensify as the double bass comes in, and the whole arrangement is just wonderfully evocative. Icons is yet again, another hugely accomplished track. It’s wonderful to see a band such as KAMPFAR still triumphing in their music, in the depths and shifts of tone after so long. It’s heavy, technically blasting and energetically draining, the heart and fury of this track once again comes from the collective combinations of great vocals and powerful playing. Much can be said from the whole of the album, in fact. The final climax of this track is sublime- full on and explosive, leaving you hanging on the edge of the final lingering note.

With no time to recover, Skavank pounds into existence, dark and brooding. It’s mammoth in its weight and unyielding in its onslaught of pure shredding. This is a truly blow your mind intro with a huge payoff in the way of lyrics and well-crafted tone of the track. Lyrically this album follows the same roots as previous albums, with more KAMPFAR’s signature influences.

If you want to lose yourself in a track, Diamon is the one to go for. Currently the first track in twenty one years to be released with a video, it’s definitely one to check out, as it encompasses the melancholy, chilling and all round creepy nature of the track. It’s unsettling, in the best way. The vocals are ancient in tone, and in terms of musicianship, it’s a hugely accomplished track, swaying between tortured and powerful. The might and despair of this song, coupled with the blissfully primordial feel make this a stand out track. Expect to be re-listening to this one for the duration. It’s sublime.

The next song is more powerful playing and emotive vocals, Pole in the Ground will very much have you off your feet. It’s such an intense album, the energy of this track in particular evokes it’s listener to loose themselves to frenzy and wild enjoyment. The intensity of the track has your guts clenched by this point, with such fantastic riffs that truly encompass the splendour of the band’s sound. The mid track break down is intense, dark and engraves itself in your soul, while the final push into the end of the song brings great satisfaction. This is a master track in terms of how to do Norse Black Metal right. There is the lingering, beautifully disturbing ending that leads into the final track Tornekratt. The mix for this album is very well put together, as there couldn’t be a better song to finish on. Memorable, but perhaps not as intense as other parts of the album, this lingering effectiveness will be apparent should this one be played at live shows- the thoughts of hordes of fans shouting along to this puts hairs on end.

After so many released, and such a long standing career, KAMPFAR proves once again that they are on form and ready to expel more huge tunes and even bigger riffs. The vocals are completely on form, the whole band ousting in their individual performances. That, and the fact that the band have released a fantastic video proves that KAMPFAR are still a band to be reckoned with.

Rating: 8/10

Profan is set for release on November 13th via Indie Recordings.