1994. It was the year of the Lillehammer Olympics, the wave of Norwegian Black Metal was gaining momentum and in these two parallel worlds the amount of self adulation was at a level never before seen. The Norwegian self image as winter sport pioneers finally reached a peak of national delusion, and in the much smaller but equally bristling-with-excessive-pride black metal scene things were also fast losing all semblance of sanity. Among all this, one man was sat in a cabin in the mountains, a few hours away from his actual home town of Fredrikstad, thinking that he didn’t really belong among either camp, no matter how deep his roots were connected to the Norwegian soul and that of extreme metal.
The rest is history, as they say, and it’s a story told through nine albums by what that winter was to become Kampfar. The first two installments were created and recorded by the duo of Dolk and Thomas, with the former handling vocals and drum duties, while the latter took care of strings and keys. The album Mellom Skogkledde Aaser gained a solid following worldwide with it’s folk inspired approach to black metal, and with its follow-up, the harsher and more pained Fra Underverdenen, the band had established itself as a unique voice within the Norwegian black metal scene. Refusing to perform live, and keeping the band a duo, helped build a special mystique around the band, but it also caused the band to stay in its own little corner of the underground scene for many years.
This slowly began to change in 2003 with the introduction of bass player Jon and drummer Ask Ty. The fresh blood caused the band to start producing new material again and after three of the members played several shows with the side project Gruesome, it became apparent that there was a chemistry there that should be shared on more stages. The first shows were performed, first in Norway, then moving on to European venues, eventually booking tours and festivals leading up to the release of third album Kvass. Still a cold and simple expression, the song writing was developing in tune with performing old and new songs on stage. This in turn shaped Heimgang, the fourth and perhaps last release of the old formulas, into an album that both stayed in safe waters, while also starting to push at the borders of what Kampfar song writing should be.
Moving to 2010 and much was changing for the members of the band. Personal bonds were broken and new ones forged, touring had become a bigger focus and the reality of combining real life and music was challenging the band on many a front. While writing Mare it was slowly becoming clear that what the band thought it was, was no longer the case, and more importantly, that not all members felt like they wanted to head in the same direction as the other anymore. Thomas decided to step away from the band, and with travelling to Sweden and spending a month with Peter Tägtgren in Abyss Studio, the rest found a new direction more true to the mutual voice they had in mind when exploring music within the frameworks of Kampfar.
2011 marked the start of a new era for the band, with increased touring, more festivals, and the introduction of Ole, who would become a pivotal part of moving the band towards a new style of song writing. It soon became apparent to the rest of the band that they had nabbed an extraordinary composer, being presented with songs that already on the crude demo stage carried so much gravitas and emtion that the rest only had to add their flavour to it for the songs to flourish into the masterpieces they would become.
Djevelmakt and Profan were written and recorded in quick succession, with high quality music videos accompanying the songs, and live performances now showing the band to be part of the true elite of metal bands filling the stages around the world, going from strength to strength, with charismatic frontman Dolk the figurehead of the dreadnought that was Kampfar the band. And then things went black, true black. Kampfar disappeared, communicated nothing, knowing nothing, because life some times smacks you over the head with a bag of shit covering up a rock being swung by a beast of collossal strength. Long story short, the band didn’t know if there ever was to be a band again.
But in defeat lies the true nature of someone’s soul, and when that soul does not stop burning, does not stop craving, does not leave behind the innate desire to create, it will regain strength and it will find its way given time.
So there was Ofidians Manifest. The four men were hungry again, coming so close to losing it all, they cherished the one constant they had had for so long, the band. And then, with less than a week to go before their European tour in March 2020, Norway shut down, like so much of the rest of the world and we all know how the following two years went.
So we’re back in Hemsedal. Where it all started, where so much has been created for nearly thirty years, where the quiet and space leaves room for unobstructed creative freedom. And six songs have been written, shaped and finished. All instruments have been recorded by the band themselves, everything been handled by those the band trust the most, themselves, with a little help from a few key people who understand what the band really is all about. And the result is Til Klovers Takt, in word and sound everything that Kampfar is as of today.