Borknagar - Urd

Borknagar - Urd

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(CD, Century Media, 2012)

Here we are dealing with an all-star band. Members of BORKNAGAR have played to several successful bands like DIMMU BORGIR, SOLEFALD, CARPATHIAN FOREST, VINTERSORG and of course ARCTURUS.  After the pretty good “Universal” BORKNAGAR are back with “Urd” and here I am wondering where are they heading after several albums of great experimental Black Metal.  In this album we have the participation of ARCTURUS’s ICS Vortex and this part makes you wonder how this participation will be implemented by Øystein . The sound production was made by Brun and the mix by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street studios in Sweden, known from collaborations with OPETH and KATATONIA.

“Urd” picks up from the point that “Universal” had stopped. The album begins with the fast “Epochalypse” where the clean vocals have the leading role being epic and aggressive as usual. “Roots” comes second with ICS Vortex bringing some ARCTURUS aesthetics while the riffs are of excellent quality reminding of the long past of BORKNAGAR (“The Olden Domain” and “Oceans Rise”). In “The Beauty Of Dead Cities” there are some 70’s influences especially in the use of clean vocals and keyboards; Vintersong ’s clean vocals are once again different and a perfect match for the song. “The Earthling” comes with a mid-tempo rhythm, melodic guitar work with a great solo in the middle and then some fast riffs and the grim vocals by Vintersong.

“The Pains Of Memories” is a beautiful instrumental track characterized by tranquility enhanced by the use of violin. “Mount Regency” is next reminding you a little bit from the “The Olden Domain” era with high quality keyboards and clean vocals. The two kinds of vocals, grim and clean, are being handled in excellence. In “Frostrite” the clean vocals take the driver’s seat as Vintersong and Vortex ICS give their best and the guitars melodies are simply the icing on the cake. “The Winter Eclipse” is an epic, groovy and melodic song with the great harsh vocals while somewhere in the middle the keyboards fit so perfectly with clean singing makes everything sound flawless during the nine minutes of its duration. Of course it would be a shame not to give credit to the amazing riffage yet simple by Jens F. Ryland. The album closes the curtain with “In A Deeper World” giving the impression that Øystein will continue this magical trip having so much to give to the fans of extreme Metal.

I remember when I listened to “The Olden Domain” and I was surprised by the smart use of the guitars in Black Metal. It was an evolution for this period of time because 1997 only Ved Buens Ende and some others (counting them in one hand) had taken the risk to bring PINK FLOYD and general psychedelic Rock to Black Metal. This wasn’t progressive, but just an addition to the evolution path of Black Metal. If ARCTURUS are the kings of psychedelic Black Metal, BORKNAGAR are the masters of matching Black Metal with 70’s progressive Rock with epic aesthetics.  I consider this album a masterpiece and it is already in my best albums list for 2012.





01. Epochalypse
02. Roots
03. The Beauty Of Dead Cities
04. The Earthling
05. The Plains Of Memories
06. Mount Regency
07. Frostrite
08. The Winter Eclipse
09. In A Deeper World


Øystein Garnes Brun - Guitars, Composition
Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund - Vocals
Lars "Lazare" Nedland - Keys, Backing Vocals
Jens F. Ryland - Guitars
ICS Vortex - Bass, Vocals