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Borknagar - True North Award winner

True North
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 20 September 2019, 6:08 AM

Some bands’ stories are marked by the constant changes of their line-ups, and there are moments when a change becomes a crucial point, because it puts a band’s work on check: “will it improve or will it be a failure?” is a question that fans will make. This is the same question many had after the departure of Jens F. Ryland, Baard Kolstad and Vintersorg from the ranks of the Norwegian titans of BORKNAGAR. So “True North” came to life encircled by a mix of anxiety and doubt. So what the fans can expect of the album?

All those who knows the band and are used to their music will not have reasons for complains: their mix between Black/Death Metal with Progressive Rock from the 70’s (a genre that they are one of the pioneers) is still the same, only shining with a different gleam due the contrasts of only two vocalists (Lars and I. C. S. Vortex). Of course many could think of a second coming of the classic musical formula of “Quintessence”, but “True North” is far from it. It’s climatic, with very charming melodies, but many interesting different elements can be heard (as the Hammond playing on the beginning of “Up North”). Yes, the quintet really took the trial seriously, and is presenting to the fans another great classic.

The band used many studios for the recording of “True North”, but left the mixing and the mastering of the album’s songs on the hands of Jens Bogren (who previously worked with the band on “Urd” and “Winter Thrice”), and the joint efforts of the band with him created an amazing and perfect sound quality. The songs have weight and clarity to be understood, and the things works perfectly both on aggressive parts and on deeper and clean moments. Yes, it’s an amazing work, indeed!

The album presents nine songs that will amaze their old fans, but will conquer many new ones. But the best ones are “Thunderous” (an excellent song, contrasting the Progressive Rock melodies with brutal parts, but in a wonderful way that don’t tear apart the harmonies, what a great work from vocals with great contrasts between harsh and clean tunes), the seductive melodic punch given by “Up North” (the melodies can make the listener’s mind travel deeply into the north, but there’s a simpler approach used on the arrangements, what hooks the fans), the Progressive/Epic ambience of “The Fire that Burns” (a traditional song of the band, with the perfect blend of elements, what great guitar work can be heard), the fine combination of simple melodies with deep melodies and aggressive moments heard on “Lights” and “Wild Father’s Heart”, and… It’s no use to write another word more about the songs, because “True North” is really a wonderful piece of music.

To those who already know their work and are fans, BORKNAGAR created another precious jewel on “True North”. To those who aren’t fans and to those who don’t know their work, the album really deserves to be heard, because it’s exactly what many can be looking for.

Originality: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Thunderous
2. Up North
3. The Fire that Burns
4. Lights
5. Wild Father’s Heart
6. Mount Rapture
7. Into the White
8. Tidal
9. Voices
Øystein G. Brun - Guitars
Lars A. Nedland - Keyboards, Vocals
I. C. S. Vortex - Bass, Vocals
Jostein Thomassen - Lead Guitars
Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow - Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records


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