Arckanum

Kampen

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Arckanum's third release, originally issued in 1998, finds the (mostly) one-man band going epic and somewhat progressive, while still remaining firmly within the context of primitivist black metal. The first track, "Intro/Kamps Tekn," begins with nearly five minutes of forest sounds, low chanting and the occasional tribal drumbeat, before the fuzzed-out guitars and blast beats come in. The droning, queen-of-the-forest female vocals that marked the first two Arckanum discs are also present, as are the sounds of animals and the natural world (owls, running streams, crackling fire) that bridged songs in the past. Indeed, the major difference between Kampen and its predecessors, Fran Marder and Kostogher, is length. Sure, there are some nice guitar riffs here and there ("Trulfyllket, Rapz Ok Os" is a great punk rock song -- or it would be if it wasn't eight minutes long), frontman/leader Shamaatae is entertainingly rabid, and the female vocalist's chanting is a welcome break from all the head-down black metal fury when it arrives, but at well over an hour, this album's relentlessness feels exhausting.

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