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Borknagar - The Olden Domain (Reissue) Award winner

The Olden Domain (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 12 May 2015, 6:43 PM

It goes without saying that every band, no matter the style of music it plays, starts with a vision, even if it is merely an economical one. However, in order to let the vision flow into the right ends, this group should be unified around it rather than partly divided. I believe that one of the reasons that the Norwegian BORKNAGAR has been sustaining its uniqueness and magnificence, no matter the recurring lineup changes throughout its years, is due to the notion that the minds of its members are all aligned. Øystein G. Brun might placed the first stone of this foundation, but his idles has been carved upon the skin of his comrades. And yes, BORKNAGAR, hailing from the city of Bergen, has been with the Metal world for the past twenty years and keeps on going strong with enchanting form of extreme Metal, a kind that only Norwegian can amazingly muster.

The band hasn’t put out a new album just yet, however, one of its past relics, their sophomore album (and debut through Century Media) “The Olden Domain”, is reissued by the Italian Punishment 18 Records. A travel back to 1997, a period in the 90’s where the rising stars of Norwegian Black Metal began diversifying their methods, thus implementing new dimensions in their music, upgrading their specialness. BORKNAGAR, which has delivered its rawness back in their self-titled debut, began elevating their music into newfound glories and achievements. Psyched by ancient beliefs, “The Olden Domain” sails through a sea of longing, a craving for older times, gone realms that were decimated in time. This sort of magical pining led BORKNAGAR to an exciting, even dramatic, manifold of Black Metal. Still abiding by traditional patterns laid down in the early period of the decade, the material became heavenly atmospheric, almost angelic at times as I nearly felt the clouds of grey, waiting for the storm to strike with its might. The length of the tunes was barely noticed, even after crossing the nine minutes barrier, often it felt like a dream crossed with a foreboding nightmare (the positive sense of the word).

Knee deep within the tracks, I sensed an impressive harmony, everything appeared to be right where it should be, no fillers, just plain honesty and finesse. The musicianship level seemed high above while every details considered. “A Tale of Pagan Tongue”, “The Dawn of the End” and “The Winterway”, like the others, are frankly hard to describe, it is tough to put into accurate words what is going within these songs other than the term I used just now, harmony, plain and simple. After listening to various of later albums by BORKNAGAR, I noticed that harmony never left them and I believe that it is their base of power and reason for existence, other than worshiping their true gods.

Punishment 18 Records offers a unique sensation of Black Metal in progression, might term the use Folk Metal, yet it is way beyond. I dare you to try this one.

4 Star Rating

1. The Eye of Oden
2. The Winterway
3. Om hundrede Aar Er Alting Glemt (Instrumental)
4. A Tale of Pagan Tongue
5. To Mount and Rove
6. Grimland Domain
7. Ascension of Our Fathers (Instrumental)
8. The Dawn of the End
Øystein G. Brun – Guitars
Ivar Bjørnson - Keyboards
Fiery G. Maelstrom - Vocals
Kai K. Lie - Bass
Grim (R.I.P. 1999) - Drums
Record Label: Punishment 18 Records


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