Borknagar – Empiricism

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Reviewed: December 2001
Released: 2001, Century Media
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

I was pretty excited when I first heard that Vintersorg would be taking over the vocal spot in Borknagar. I assumed his vocal abilities and song writing prowess would take Borknagar to the next level. I was wrong.

This Borknagar album actually has two newcomers – Tyr (bass) and Vintersorg (vocals). Here we have another album that again points out that Vintersorg’s best work is his solo material. Vintersorg’s COSMIC GENESIS still stands way above this album as a better written, performed, mixed, and recorded piece of work. Some of the songs on here are very cool. Then there are songs that are pseudo black metal that sound really bad with weak sounding blast beats and a mish mash guitar sound and rhythm technique that is so muddied together you can hardly tell what notes are being played! Also missing from the album are guitar solos. I know some people don’t miss solos, but in my opinion they important. Guitar solos are an essential ingredient of heavy metal. If you don’t like solos in your heavy metal, then you are not much of a fan of metal. So that was another strike against this album. I know some people will love this just because of Vintersorg’s presence, but I guess my letdown is the fact that I had higher hopes for the album then what was delivered. If I had heard no Vintersorg or Borknagar material prior to hearing this then maybe I would of loved it….but a band’s past does put a filter on what you hear from them in the present. Some of the songs that stood out for me include “The Genuine Pulse” which begins with a blast and once it gets in about 30 secs the keys get quite loud. The chorus is the best part of the song where Vintersorg’s rich voice takes the front seat. Sure he’s a good black metal styled singer, but it’s his rich deep vocals that set him apart. “Gods of My World” begins with a cool guitar riff that is then accompanied by the overbearing keys. This song is much slower then the intro. The track “Matter and Motion” is a odd piano song. It’s stood out not as a great song but more like a sore thumb! “Soul Sphere” one of the better tracks; mid-paced with a good mixture of clean and black metal styled vocals.

Although some songs stand out, some flow together and you don’t even realize it’s a new song. That’s never a good sign. The other problem I had is with unmet expectations. This is not a bad album; just not what I think they could of delivered.



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