• Ambitious shades of Northern darkness - A review of Kampfar's Ofidians Manifest

    Kampfar - Ofidians Manifest (2019)

    Norwegian pagan metal quartet Kampfar's eight studio record Ofidians Manifest is a solid melodic black metal record that convinces most in its most atmospheric, epic and progressive tracks that showcase the band's ambition, creativity and talent.

    ''Dominans'' convinces with sinister symphonic soundscapes and hypnotizing female chants that complement the clean vocals on the verge of clean techniques and very raw undertones perfectly. The explosive ''Natt'' has a wonderful middle section with an appeasing piano solo that makes the blistering parts around it so much more efficient. The diversified ''Eremitt'' has a similar approach but the piano notes sound quite uneasy and provide an additional bleak note to the varied track that might be the best of the bunch.

    Not all tracks are as great as the record's stunning middle section. Opener ''Syndefall'' includes too many ideas in just four minutes and offers a somewhat complicated start. Album closer ''Det sorte'' on the other side can be seen as a summary of the record as it includes elements offered in this release's best tunes which are though unnecessarily stretched as the song would have sounded much more compact in five minutes than in eight and a half.

    If you like atmospheric, creative and experimental black metal, you can't get around Kampfar's Ofidians Manifest. All seven tracks are richly detailed and grow with every consecutive spin. The unique cover artwork somewhere between horror and originality represents the music on this record very well.

    Final rating: 75%

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