|The beginnings of Kampfar date back to 1994, as Per-Joar "Dolk" Spydevold bid farewell to his former band Mock. His desire to continue expressing himself musically and to move ahead prompted him to seek new blood. He recruited Thomas to take on the guitar responsibilities and soon the duo began composing new material.
The two musicians, who possessed quite disparate musical backgrounds, soon developed a unique sound that was first presented to the public with the release of the MCD Kampfar. The self-titled MCD was followed by the full-length album Mellom Skogkledde Aaser in 1997. Although the album leaned heavily on Thomas' folk influences, it still espoused Dolk's Black Metal finesse.
With two releases under their belt, Kampfar continued to write and to produce new material. In addition, the band explored new lyrical territory and presented their fans with their first English lyrics. The song was part of the MCD Norse. The following year, 1999, Kampfar released their second full-length entitled Fra Underverdenen. This particular recording, being darker and more emotional than its predecessors, saw Kampfar move away from some of the folk aspects and concentrate more on Thomas' fondness for classical music. The result, however, was still very deeply rooted in the Black Metal genre.
Following the release of Fra Underverdenen, Kampfar almost disappeared from the face of the earth. It was the beginning of a long period of inactivity due to personal issues. Once resolved, Kampfar regained its momentum.
After bassist Jon Bakker and drummer Ask Ty "II13" Arctander joined the band in 2003, Kampfar focused on writing new material and finally accepted one of the numerous offers to play live. The band chose to premiere at the Moshfest festival in Halden, not far from their native Fredrikstad. The show's success resulted in numerous Norwegian gigs and in the band's first mini tour of Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands - a tour that also included some festival gigs.
In between rehearsing for their live performances and the writing of new songs, demos were recorded and in November 2005, Kampfar was ready to enter Silvertone Studio in Gamle Fredrikstad to record what would become their latest release, Kvass. Working with producer Rune Jørgensen, the band recorded the album in 3 months time.
Kvass was well received by the metal press and the band performed at numerous festivals including the legendary Wacken and With Full Force. Furthermore, a tour of Europe helped the band reach a whole new level of notoriety, encouraging them to quickly move forward with new material for the next release.
Kampfar once again remained true to their primordial style delivering raw Pagan Folklore Metal, as it is meant to be heard. Piercing riffs, driving drums, and catchy melodies shaped Heimgang, but the sceptre can only fully swing with the help of charismatic frontman Dolk, whose unmistakable and unique vocal approach gave the songs the finishing touch. The dark and yet majestic atmosphere, both clean and harsh, was caught on tape by Rune Jørgensen of Silvertone Studio, Norway. Lyrically the album dealt with crossing over into the underworld, as told in Nordic myths and legends. Heimgang proved that alongside Darkthrone and Satyricon, Kampfar, without a doubt, remains a forerunner and one of the last true originals of the scene.
Following several successful European tours, as well as appearances at renowned festivals like Inferno, Party-San and Ultima Ratio, the band retreated to focus on the upcoming album. It was clear that things were changing, the self imposed restraints of the past were history and the music was allowed to flow more freely than ever before. Part of the album was written in the mountains of Hemsedal, Kampfar's spiritual home since its beginnings. The rest came to life through hard work and utmost seclusion. The only deviations from the writing process were three special festival shows: Kings of Black Metal, Hellfest, and Wacken. It was also at this time that founding member Thomas parted ways with Kampfar to follow other musical endeavours.
Kampfar's latest album Mare opens a new chapter in the Norwegians' band history, while delivering a true monument to black metal. Frontman Dolk and the rest of the band have achieved the difficult task of giving their sound new impulses without losing their unique style. Isolated keyboard passages and sprechgesang consort with icy riffs, dark melodies, and oppressive drums. Dolk's raw vocals continue to set the pace, while giving songs like "Bergtatt", Volvevers", and the title track such intensity that they are left with no other choice but to crawl under the skin of even the most discerning black and pagan metal fans. The album was produced by none other than Peter Tägtgren (Abyss Studio), who provided the songs with a piercing and very powerful sound. Mare is the pagan black metal masters' best work to date and is sure to become the genre's next cult classic.
In the end of 2010, Thomas left the band for personal reasons. Thomas will not be found in the extreme scene anymore. Ole "Mithrin" Hartvigsen from Mistur/Emancer is now doing the guitars for Kampfar. 2011 will be a year in the name of touring. The Black Path Tour will cover most of europe and parts of USA and Canada.