Soaring over mountains with black
wings amidst icywinds biting and blowing in this hoar's frost; embraced
by the blood truth, with very little gnostic awareness for this Norwegian
pagan ravenheart's history or passion for the opera; I accepted Nathan
from Napalm Records' challenge to interview the drummer II13; with no
intention to mock or confound. Tack to Thomas who willingly assisted with
my vitreous voracity for veracity.
MettleAngel: What does the name Kampfar
mean to you personally as a musician?
II13: Kampfar is something unique. Not that
this is unlike anything you've ever heard, but no band has ever sounded
just like this either. It's the combination of Dolk's black metal
roots and Thomas' classical and folk music liking that has given Kampfar
this sound. To me it took some time to understand the realm of Kampfar
and adapt to it, but it is now a place I call my musical home.
How do you view your music as reaching out beyond a certain stereo-typed
metal genre classification? What style would you say you play...is there
even a sub-classification for it, or do you despise labelling your art?
II13: The style long ago was defined as Norse
Pagan Folklore Metal. What it is? Kampfar. Regarding reaching out,
it seems that people outside of the metal community find things in
our music they like. I've personally got feedback from people in diverse
musical backgrounds like noise core, classical music, jazz, pop, blues,
punk and so on, where they seem to connect to what we do on some level.
To me music is not genre, it's not a social activity, it's not a society.
Music is a collection of personal emotions, and in Kampfar we express
ours, which a good amount of people seem to pick up on.
MettleAngel: Does your Norwegian heritage
influence your writing proclivities, if so in what manner?
II13: Well, listen to Edvard Grieg. His music
sounds the way the nature of Norway looks. And there is an element
of him in our music. What we do is to describe images of the darker
side of our world, the underworld. A song like "Lyktemenn"
deals with the world beneath. Not in the bullshit II13tian/Satan
way, but in the way it was perceived through old myths. Imagine shadowlike
men, blue glowing, moving fast towards you. There are also the images
of the ruling powers against the free spirits, in songs like "Hat
Og Avind" or "Svart Og Vondt", which is something that
can be traced back in any heritage, but in these cases come from ours.
MettleAngel: Are you influenced by other
types of music, other than metal, if so enumerate...
II13: The strongest musical influence outside
of metal is the heavier forms of classical music, like the Russian
composers, and Grieg and Wagner, to name some. But there are also
other strange influences, where just a note or passage in a piece
of music may trigger something very different in our expression.
MettleAngel: Do you support the caliginis
underpinning of the Norwegian Black Metal Underground? By this I mean
do you sympathize with Church burners and those mentioned in the book
- "Lords of Chaos"? If you choose not to comment on this, that
is your right.
II13: Every person has to define what is right
and wrong for themselves. If you choose to burn down a church you
also have to deal with the consequence of it. I never did, and never
will, but I see it as an honest and strong expression to do so. I
believe there are wiser ways of opposing religion than that, and I
follow my own path in that respect.
MettleAngel: There is a new DVD out now called "Metal - A
Headbanger's Journey" conducted by an anthropologist who is a die-hard
metal head and fan. He interviews some Norwegian Black Metal musicians
who take their message too far, this is why I asked the previous question.
Many people automatically assume that if you are from Norway and you play
Black Metal that you are some evil fanatic. Clearly this is just not the
case, do you care to comment on this?
II13: I watched this movie a few days ago,
actually, and found it to be one of the best documentations of metal
I've witnessed. They managed to put a lot into the one and a half
hours, and did so in a non-speculative nor defending manner. I find
it ridiculous that every time mainstream media portrait metal bands
or -personalities they need to make them look very un-dangerous. To
make it legitimate to play metal Fuck that, we don't need everybody's
approval, we know that what we do it to our best anyway. So this movie
was a liberating and personal look at what we all spend our lives
being a part of. Regarding the misconceptions about Norwegian metal
musicians, I've met some of them the last years. I live in The Netherlands
for a period now, and I often get into discussions about the past
in Norway, and often the right/wrong side of it. Like it's some black
and white thing. There are a ton of different personalities in the
metal world of Norway, just like in the rest of the world, and everybody
decide for themselves who they are and how they express that. The
reality nonetheless, is that almost all metal heads are people it's
possible to hang out with, even the ones perceived as the worst ones.
And evil musicians? Those are the ones making the teeny pop.
MettleAngel: What is your take on the Nowegian
Black Metal scene presently? Several successful band from Norway, no longer
consider themselves as being Black Metal, which just incites the purists,
what do you think?
II13: I think there are a few interesting
bands here, but there is a much more diverse expression now than 10
years back. I am very curious about how Dødheimsgard will sound
now, for instance. For the purists I can recommend Alverg or Framferd,
for instance. When it comes to black metal I see it as more of a foundation
than a musical style. We have black metal in our music but we don't
play it. Same with many bands out there, both in Norway and the rest
of the world. To me black metal is not about Satan or about screaming
vocals and no bass. It's about darkness, on a mental level. In that
respect I think Celtic Frost have made a masterpiece with "Monotheist",
which is an album that hits me right in the chest and spreads in my
system like cancer, just in the good way.
Where do your seek inspiration for your lyrics? Does Norwegian folk-lore
speak personally to you, or is it an avenue of communication for expressing
deeper - seated sentimentalities?
II13: I've spent time getting into Dolk's
words, and we've discussed them many times. The inspiration comes
from old literature as much as from the spirit of the person writing
them. A song like "Ravenheart" for instance is to me about
the freedom of the people involved in this band. But it can be about
any person who follows their own path ignorant of the norm, whatever
that may be. A song like "Til Siste Mann" deals with war,
but in a different way than in many metal lyrics. Imagine the last
man of a tribe, left at the field of war, with the triumphant victor
riding away, and then listen to the screams at the end of the song.
It's all about images.
MettleAngel: What captivating aspects of
Nature do you find enthralling and spiritually uplifting?
II13: Nature has so many sides, so many aspects
of beauty. Whether it's the blooming or decay of a tree, a still or
storming ocean, a day in the mountains with sun or heavy rain, there
is beauty that I connect to on a level I can not describe. Nature
is freedom and freedom is what I crave. I grew up with the forest
and ocean right outside my door, and that does something to you, I
MettleAngel: There has been a seven year
break since your last recording, what is the primary reason for the hiatus?
- II13: The first
part of it was due to some personal issues that had to be dealt with,
and that demanded that Kampfar was put away for some years. The second
part was that Jon and I came in 3 years ago. We immediately started
writing music ("Ildverden" was created the first month), and
then we decided to start playing live. This took away the focus from
writing for a while, before we managed to do both things simultaneously.
So the last three years have been the most productive part of Kampfar's
MettleAngel: Do you feel that you have
solidified the best line-up for the music you yearn to create?
MettleAngel: You are now on Napalm Records,
are you happy with this decision? Did your Hammerheart/Karmageddon Media
contract expire, or did you just decide it was time for a change; new
band/new label association? I see that Napalm plan to re-issue your back
catalogue, will there be bonus tracks and rarities?
have a bad reputation, and they've earned it themselves. So they agreed
to hand over all rights to the material Kampfar released there to
us. This material, and the first album (released on Malicious) are
as you mention being re-released. This is not to make an extra batch
of cash from people, but because it's been difficult to get a hold
of these releases. We've not changed anything, as the albums are the
way they are. The only difference is that two songs from the "Norse"
EP are on "Fra Underverdenen" now.
MettleAngel: Thank You so much for taking
the time to answer my curious questions...