Released: Jan , Century Media
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Borknagar is a band that has been constantly producing new music and have been doing so a fair amount of time. 2016 marks the 20 year anniversary of when the band first formed and this year they release their 10th studio album, being Winter Thrice.
The band has always been one to keep folk influences in their sound and this may be more of a folk influence that they tend to do as the album sticks with a Viking theme (as all good folk themes tend to be). They did have their earlier material be more along the lines of black metal and it shows here as there is some influences here and there of their previous metal roots.
Overall, the music is a mix of clean vocals with a bit of peppering in of growls. I find the band works best with the clean vocals, but the growls were appropriate here. Although, when the instrumentation went along the lines of black metal (namely the drumming and guitars) it felt better off to have growls for vocals, to match the style better.
As for the album itself, it is that of a Viking feeling for sure. There are many times when it happens to have a lull that feels like it is a Viking adventure, but I feel that they can go on for a bit too long and could be cut shorter and still feel like it got everything in.
With that, most tracks on the album aren’t particularly long, nor is the album at a great length (being just under 50 minutes) but I still feel some of the tracks did kind of drag, especially in the latter half of the album. I believe because it felt like more of the same music but in a different track. It did have a tendency to sound similar, but it kept me listening throughout rather than tuning out.
The one thing that kept me interested was the album’s progressive elements. Many times it would tend to shift in time signatures and sound different from before, keeping the listener engaged. It also helped that the Viking theme is done well here.
It does have elements of their old albums as well, as they brought back their old singer Kristoffer Rygg a.k.a. Garm, to do a few pieces within the songs Winter Thrice and Terminus. It’s cool to do such a thing as a guest spot, and it makes sense, being their big anniversary and landmark album.
It’s a good album for sure, but it’s for those who truly like the Viking theme metal. Otherwise, it’s still a good album, but it’s not as recommended to those with a passing interest.