CD Reviews > Borknagar

Borknagar - Urd

Century Media

Borknagar have unleashed a musical masterpiece of epic proportions with their new Urd (Century Media). As profound as Fate itself, Urd is named after the Norn who weaves the tapestry of the Past. The Norns are three sisters who reside under the great tree Yggdrassil and weave the lifelines of all of Mankind. (Verdande is the Norn of the present, and Skuld weaves the future).

Hailing from Bergen, Norway, Borknagar are: founder/guitarist Oystein G. Brun, the “Golden Threesome” of vocalists Vintersorg, ICS Vortex, and Lazare (the latter two also handling Bass and Keyboard duties respectively), and lead guitarist Jens F. Ryland. David Kinkade kicked the skins on this album, but has since “mutually parted ways” with the band and is focusing all his energies on Soulfly.

Although loosely labeled as Black Metal, this album pushes those boundaries and is clearly much more. It’s Avant-Garde. Massive. Emotional.

The powerful “Age Of Creation” is Earth-moving; it evokes images of very mountains forming or volcanoes erupting. I absolutely love the guitars and vocals in the primordial “Epochalypse”. The ice-cold “Frostrite” shines like the Aurora Borealis. The beautiful “In A Deeper World” is more organic and melodic, giving the feeling of being at one with Nature.

“Mount Regency” is as majestic as a towering snow-covered mountain range. The melodic bass intro sets the tone for the rest of the musicianship that follows in “My Friend of Misery” which tries to show someone who’s always looking on the bleak side that there is beauty and value to Life. “Roots” (no relation whatsoever to the infamous Sepultura song of the same name) has those that run as deep as those of a mighty oak anchored in the Earth.

“The Beauty Of Dead Cities” is indeed that – it’s like finding ancient monuments that were once grand now lying abandoned among weeded overgrowth. The dark “The Earthling” manifests a grim reaper, a harvester of Life. “The Plains of Memories” is a gorgeous albeit bittersweet instrumental. The stark, cold “The Winter Eclipse” is absolutely captivating!

~Athena Schaffer