Sealed Chambers of Electricity
The Weight of Wind
The Inner Ocean Hypothesis
G. Brun – guitar
A. Nedland – synthesizers
Mickelson – bass & drums
: "Epic" borknagar
release date 26th June
preview - review by Elisabeth "elli" Kellner____
BORKNAGAR'S MUSIC IS MORE THAN A SYNTHESIS OF BLACK AND PAGAN METAL
In a weeks
time Borknagar are releasing their 6th album, the 5th
with Century Media records. The new masterpiece is called “Epic”. Epics
as a form of literature play a very important role in the history of
every people. The English have the “Beowulf”, the Germans the
“Nibelungenlied” and the Scandinavians the “Edda”. Furthermore,
the word epic has a second meaning monumental. Without exaggerating I
think one can say the new Borknagar album is monumental. In the three
years since their last album “Quintessence” a lot has changed,
not only within the band but in the whole Scandinavian Black Metal Scene
as such. Since 2001 Borknagar had to cope with the leaving of their
former guitarist Jens F. Ryland and their bassist Tyr. Nevertheless the
remaining members managed to keep and further develop the typical
It has always been difficult to put Borknagar into a single category. Especially with this new album the label Black Metal does not fit anymore. It’s too small. There are too many different influences that make their music outstanding and unique. Of course, Black Metal still plays an important role, the drumming, the growling and screaming vocals, the often symphonic keyboards are typical BM elements. But all this is expanded by clear vocals, acoustic guitar parts, traditional instruments like the flute – Pagan or Viking Metal is the keyword that comes to ones mind. And still, Borknagar’s music is more than a synthesis of Black and Pagan Metal. They themselves describe it as a post Black Metal avant-garde. The spoken parts in songs like “Origin” relate to the concept of the epic as a literary genre – tales that have been told from generation to generation, comparatively late written down. Purely instrumental songs such as “The Weight of the Wind” continue to tell a story with different means than the human voice.
Epic has some surprises for its listeners. Who does expect a Hammond Organ on a Metal album? Or almost joyful, danceable melodies? Contrasts characterize this album – joyful melodies combined with aggressive vocals, screamed and clear vocals, loud and blasting parts followed by slow and quiet ones. The twelve songs on this album form a complex whole – a complexity that is monumental, majestic, epic. The well titled opener “Future Reminiscence” comprises all the different styles that are to come on this album, gives a taste of what to expect.
“Quintessence” is the title of a song one would expect on the equally named album released in 2000. It’s one of the faster tracks of this album, preparing for the final song “Wonder” which then goes into a different direction. More mellow than the other songs, but still being heavy, especially through the vocals it is the apt last song of this album. The songs between the first and the last are all worth listening to, they are more than just means to fill the gap between a great opener and a great finishing song. Especially “The Inner Hypothesis” which has a disharmonic opening with piano and bass is worth giving a second or third listening to. But then again this holds true for the whole album which depths doesn’t open itself to the listener in the first go. To understand the often metaphysic lyrics it takes even longer. This is maybe the clearest cut that separates Borknagar from other Black Metal bands (if we still want to use this category). None of the songs falls into a typical Black Metal lyrics category like rendering Satan, denouncing Christian symbols, asking to burn churches etc.
both the musical and lyrical elements one can truly say that Borknagar
again progressed with this album and are setting more and more the
standards for a new own style. This very well produced album
certainly deserves a 9.7 /10.
© GryphonMetal.ch June 2001-2004Niederrohrdorf - Switzerland