AGGREGATED ASSAULT!

Dragonforce

3.9
Free Metal E-Mail









New Users Sign Up

Connect. Befriend. Follow.

Share |



Other swag here
metal rules swag



Borknagar
Epic
July 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

The ever-rotating lineup of Borknagar continues to evolve, with bassist Tyr and guitarist Jens Ryland jumping ship since 2001’s EMPIRICISM. Besides that, the second release with Vintersorg on vocals, EPIC, picks up right where EMPIRICISM left off. The soaring vocals, symphonic keyboards, black metal blastbeats and folk-influenced passages are all executed with the expertise and precision that only Borknagar can muster. Guitarist Oystein G. Brun is the only remaining original member and his songwriting and structuring keeps Borknagar rooted firmly without deviating too much from their sound. Vintersorg replaced Simen Hetnaes (who is now known as ICS Vortex and provides clean vocals and plays bass in Dimmu Borgir) after 2000’s QUINTESSENCE album and while Hetnaes’ voice suited the music perfectly, Vintersorg’s does as well…just differently. He is able to pull off a death growl, black metal shriek as well as a soaring clean vocal with ease. Drummer Asgeir Mickelson handles the entire rhythm section (as well as stunning cover art once again) on EPIC since bassist Tyr left before recording began. While the talented pedigree of the musicians in Borknagar cannot be denied, Vintersorg’s oddball lyrics once again threaten to puzzle the listener. Borknagar’s lyrics have never been about the typical Scandinavian themes of blasphemy, church burning and maiming and dismembering, but the unfailing metaphysical content can be a bit overwhelming. The music is not much different than the previous album, but instead builds on what the band mastered on EMPIRICISM. Coupled with its lush production, EPIC takes that a step further in creating an incredible atmospheric experience for the listener.



“Future Reminiscence” opens the CD and basically embodies all of the styles and textures that are to come. Vintersorg’s harsh rasp is juxtaposed with his clean vocals on this track and Mickelson’s blastbeats create one of the heavier numbers on the CD. The keyboards bring in a sampled flute section around the 3:30 mark that creates an ethereal mood before launching once again into the aggression and ferocity. Vintersorg’s vocals are best demonstrated on “Sealed Chambers of Electricity,” as he goes from roaring growl, to raspy shriek, to clean vocals, to whispered nuances…all in the span of five minutes. “The Weight of Wind” is a lush instrumental track with tinges of prog to it. The keyboards are coupled with some melodic guitar parts to create an excellent middle section for the album. “Relate (Dialogue)” employs some cool vocals in the chorus and is certainly one of the catchiest tracks Borknagar has ever done. “The Inner Ocean Hypothesis” opens with a jazzy/prog intro that once again pushes the boundaries of what this band is capable of.



EPIC is a bold title. What could have been a tremendously ironic slap in the face to the band instead holds true. Anyone who has followed the career of Borknagar and seen the band evolve over the last eight years realized that they just kept getting better and better. EPIC is the conglomeration of everything Borknagar has aspired to be—heavy and light, melodic and aggressive, harsh and clean. Despite overcoming numerous obstacles and repeated lineup changes along the way, Borknagar has finally delivered what may be their magnum opus.



KILLER KUTS: “Future Reminiscence,” “The Weight of Wind,” “Relate (Dialogue),” “The Inner Ocean Hypothesis”
Track Listing

1. Future Reminiscence
2. Traveller
3. Origin
4. Sealed Chambers of Electricity
5. The Weight of Wind (Instrumental)
6. Resonance
7. Relate (Dialogue)
8. Cyclus
9. Circled
10. The Inner Ocean Hypothesis
11. Quintessence
12. The Wonder

Lineup

Vintersorg—Vocals
Oystein G. Brun—Guitar
Lars A. Nedlund—Keyboards
Asgeir Mickelson—Bass/Drums


Next review: » Borknagar - Epic
Previous review: » Borknagar - Empiricism

Borknagar
Epic
September 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media Records
Rating: 4.2/5
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos

Am I the only person left out there who isn’t mad at Borknagar? Every time the subject of this band comes up, it seems there’s someone in my face slagging their recent releases, changing their focus and indulging the (rumored) megalomania of its odd frontman Øystein G. Brun. Well, at the risk of being pilloried for breaking the traditional faith, I have to say my favorite Borknagar release so far was 2000’s QUINTESSENCE, and this, continuing the progressive black metal direction they truly began on that album, definitely scores pretty high with me.



I don’t know whether EPIC is really worthy of that title, but it’s certainly a good album. From the first track, “Future Reminiscence,” the band shows that they’re not afraid to mix up the guitar crunching and black metal wailing with some more progressive, slower and less orthodox elements, including Scandinavian folk. Not that anything on EPIC sounds like Finntroll, but the influence of Vintersorg, who here does vocals, is quite evident. Mr. Brun continues to explore some interesting territory in “Origin,” which is quite a haunting song, and “Cyclus,” which would work extremely well as a doom metal song if it was slowed down just a bit. The interest never slackens on this album, even during the slower tracks such as “Relate” and “Wonder”—they all sound very…well, arresting, at least mentally. Borknagar has a curious quality to tweak your mind without really being able to put your finger on what element of their music does it. Nonetheless I liked every track on the album, and not caring where the needle drops is one of my personal hallmarks of an excellent record. I will confess, however, that my least favorite track is “The Weight of Wind,” not because I didn’t like the song, but because its eerie, simple melody has a habit of sticking in your head and not letting go, like a commercial jingle.



Mr. Brun has demonstrated in the past his propensity to be different, and EPIC continues that tradition. Keyboards, weird harmonica-sounding instruments and even pianos moonlight on this album. For my money the element that stitches it all together from beginning to end is the awesome vocal performance of Vintersorg. He can be appropriately chilly—i.e., Scandinavian—while at the same time generating enough warmth and interest with his voice to pull the listener along through the very complex soundscape. Borknagar has never been known for an especially strong guitar sound, and that remains true in this instance as well, but it doesn’t detract from the album.



In a word, EPIC is great. If you still have a major problem with the fact that Borknagar doesn’t sound like they did in 1996, you may want to skip this album, but considering if that’s the case you’ve probably already skipped QUINTESSENCE and EMPIRICISM, that may not be a big sacrifice. Anyone interested in progressive-sounding metal combining disparate influences will probably enjoy this.
Track Listing

1. Future Reminiscence
2. Traveller
3. Origin
4. Sealed Chambers of Electricity
5. The Weight of Wind
6. Resonance
7. Relate
8. Cyclus
9. Circled
10. The Inner Ocean Hypothesis
11. Quintessence
12. The Wonder

Lineup

Vintersorg – vocals
Øystein G. Brun – guitars
Lars A. Nedland – keyboards/backing vocals
Asgeir Mickelson – drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Borknagar - Origin
Previous review: » Borknagar - Empiricism





Home | About Metal-Rules.com | Staff | Advertise With Us | Staff Openings | Donations

Content is © 2009-2012 Metal-Rules.com. All Rights Reserved.
Graphics by Hammerblaze studio.