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Borknagar
Urd

Company: Century Media
Release: 2012
Genre: Black, extreme
Reviewer: ChaosLord

  • A force of metal



  • Sweden's Borknagar is back with Urd and the return of bassist/vocalist ICS Vortex. Urd is hands down my favorite Borknagar album to date and one of my favorite releases of 2012...period!

    To classify Borknagar as a progressive black metal band is to totally limit the band's scope. There are black metal elements present in Urd, as well as progressive, folk and traditional metal with some classical thrown in for good measure. The band boasts 3 vocalists, Vintersorg who handles the main vocals and Lars Nedland (keyboards/backing vocals) and the aforementioned Vortex who handles bass as well.

    You would think with 3 vocalists that it would be chaotic but Borknagar pulls it off without a hitch. Vintersorg's clean vocals, as well as Vortex's, are simply amazing and full of emotion. Vintersorg can jump from a black metal vocal into clean vocals like a woman of the night moves between clients. Urd also adds a new element, to this reviewer at least, of choral backing vocals. This element adds even more depth and ambience to the album.

    Tracks such as "Frostrite", "Age of Creation" and "The Earthling" highlight the band's vocal talents. The musical talents of Oystein G. Brun and company can be heard throughout the album. Sweeping guitar melodies, beautiful acoustic pieces, piano interludes and symphonic backing populate the record and take you away to a fjord's edge in Sweden.

    Vortex's return also brings some complexity to the bass lines that I felt were missing in previous releases. Not to say that Tyr did not do an admirable job while filling in because he did. As an added bonus, the digipak version of "Urd" features a cover of "My Friend of Misery" by Metallica. It has been given the full Borknagar treatment and I almost like it better than the original.

    Borknagar has put out a very solid record and an album that I feel should be considered for album of the year. But being that they are labeled as progressive black metal, I feel that they might get pushed to the side. Don't let the label scare you away because this band is way more than a label. They are a force of metal to be taken with extreme seriousness. Listening to this album made me want to break something; that has to say something about this band's talent.

    So do yourself a favor, go to your local record shop and plunk down your hard earned money for a copy of "Urd". Be prepared to be amazed and transported to a world of howling winds, frozen fields and mythical magic.


    About this Writer:
    Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: BORKNAGAR
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    UniversalBorknagar
    2010
    Raising Iron6/15/2010
    UrdBorknagar
    2012
    Greg Watson3/30/2012
    Winter ThriceBorknagar
    2016
    Greg Watson7/24/2016


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: BORKNAGAR

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: BORKNAGAR
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