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borknagar urd
Artist: Borknagar
Title: Urd
Genre: Progressive metal, Avant-garde Metal
Release Date: 23rd March 2012
Label: Century Media Records


Album Review

Wow, wow, wow! I am not even going to pretend I have not loved this album from the very first moment I heard it! I would like to state here that I am not a huge fan of the lame, tree-hugging mannerism that seems to take over almost every time a progressive black metal band starts an affair with folk metal. But hey, ‘Urd’ is really something else! BORKNAGAR is not exactly an unknown band or at least should not be to those who call themselves metal fans. Founded in 1995 in Bergen by Øystein Garnes Brun who had become tired of the repetitive brutalism of his previous band - Molested. He did it so well that the band actually never had to record a demo - they were granted a contract with Malicious Records based on how strong their line-up was. Like many Norwegian metal bands, BORKNAGAR experienced many personal changes over the following years. In October 2011 Dave Kinkade announced he had decided to leave BORKNAGAR to focus solely on SOULDFLY, therefore he has been credited as a session musician on ‘Urd’.

He has been replaced by Baard Kolstad, an exceptionally gifted youngster who has made it to the semi-finals of ‘Norske Talenter’ (Norwegian equivalent of ‘America’s Got Talent’) and has received some well-deserved publicity. For those of you who are planning to attend the ‘Inferno’ festival in Oslo this year it may be a good opportunity to see this kid banging the sh*t out of his kit. ;) From the very beginning, BORKNAGAR have refused to limit themselves to one genre proving with their constantly outstanding work that true creativity should not be limited by artificial boundaries. Their last album is a perfect example of what avant-garde metal is - a constant journey through the genres and ideas limited only by the artist’s imagination. Normally, I am hardly a fan of triple vocal lines and clear vocals in metal. However, I am really impressed by the scale of vocals on this album ranging from high pitched and clear to truly rabid growling resembling Scandinavian black metal hordes. Together with elaborate guitar riffs it creates Bathorian epic style but without the overbearing obviousness. The track ‘Roots’ seems to be the best example of how well-balanced everything on this album is. It is orchestral and full of grandeur but not stilted.

Two more tracks, entitled ‘The Earthling’ and ‘The Winter Eclipse’, have really made my jaw drop. It’s been a while since I heard something as coherent and simply ingenious. ‘The Winter Eclipse’ is faster than ‘The Earthling’ with relentless guitar riffs and a decent amount of growling. Both tell epic stories and do it without being pretentious. However, to say that these tracks are the best would be to do injustice to the whole album. In my humble opinion, all the tracks on ‘Urd’ are absolutely impeccable. It is a rare and much appreciated pleasure to be able to listen to an album that is so even and multidimensional. There is one more good thing about this album - the lyrics are not stupid, so, unlike in many cases, it does not hurt to understand them. ‘Urd’ is an album that should not go unnoticed. It is positively overwhelming, powerful and vibrant. BORKNAGAR have achieved with ‘Urd’ what THE KOVENANT (then Covenant) have with ‘Nexus Polaris’. I am positive that ‘Urd’ is a milestone in the history of BORKNAGAR’s achievements, even though this may sound like an overstatement to some. BORKNAGAR’s superb line-up has undoubtedly proven themselves to be worthy of their acclaimed reputation. To give ‘Urd’ anything but 10/10 would be an insult. It also makes me think that I will have to be less generous in the future! Suddenly, 10/10 somehow does not seem to be enough!


Tracklist

01. Epochalypse (6:08)
02. Roots (5:55)
03. The Beauty Of Dead Cities (4:15)
04. The Earthling (6:51)
05. The Plains Of Memories (4:27)
06. Mount Regency (6:08)
07. Frostrite (4:50)
08. The Winter Eclipse (8:45)
09. In A Deeper World (5:42)

The album’s limited edition version will be released as Digipak with two bonus tracks (the own new song ‘Age Of Creation’ and the METALLICA cover ‘My Friend Of Misery’).


Line-up

Øystein G. Brun – Clean & Electric Guitars
Vintersorg – Grim Vocals, Clean Vocals & Choirs
Lars A. Nedland – Keyboards, Clean Vocals & Choirs
ICS Vortex – Bass, Clean Vocals & Choirs
Jens F. Ryland – Lead Guitars


Website

www.borknagar.com / www.facebook.com/borknagarofficial / www.myspace.com/borknagar


Cover Picture

borknagar urd


Rating

Sound: 10
Music: 10
Total: 10 / 10


Buy the album here!


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