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Borknagar - Urd Award winner

by Karila “Femme Metale” Shannis at 16 April 2012, 6:58 PM

In the wake of 2011-2012, it appears as though many bands have been diagnosed with New Album Syndrome, in which legendary bands with an extensive discography seem to lose their identities and their quality of sound that identified them as legends in the first place. If you or someone you know has been afflicted by this sickness, ask your local Metalhead if BORKNAGAR’s new album “Urd” is right for you.  It probably is.

“Urd” is thus far my favorite release to unleash itself upon the Metal masses this year because it succeeds in creating an Epic Avant-Garde Metal masterpiece.  Øystein G. Brun’s vision to create a versatile work of art that showcased BORKNAGAR’s veteran status in the Metal music scene was projected clearly and masterfully, carefully threaded with elements of Progressive, Black and Symphonic Metal. Once you sample Lars A. Nedland’s melodic keyboard abilities on “The Plains of Memories”, you’ll never think of a keyboard as “that hokey plastic machine that belongs in Wham! music videos” ever again. Vocal intensity was a huge key to my enjoyment of this album;  “Frostrite” will blow you away with the sound of angelic choirs led by the ever-powerful vocal majesty of returning member ICS Vortex (ex-DIMMU BORGIR) while Vintersong’s grim and sinister voice draws you in and guides you to extraterrestrial glory on the first track “Epochalypse”. Quite simply, if you’ve ever fantasized about DIMMU BORGIR’s song “Progenies of the Apocalypse” being a full length album, you will experience what it feels like to fall in love with a CD.  Jens F.  Ryland’s masterful guitar skills are on display in nearly every song; the surprising implementation of the wah pedal in “The Earthling” would have METALLICA guitarist and wah-pedal lover Kirk Hammett begging for more.

And speaking of METALLICA, the limited edition version of this album includes BORKNAGAR’s wholesome and refreshing take on “My Friend Of Misery”, from the infamous Black Album.  While it doesn’t seem to fit with the otherworldly regal nature of the rest of the album, I found that I had no trouble adjusting because the band had already successfully conglomerated so many Metal elements into this album.  That track, as well as a bonus original “The Age of Creation” also included on the limited edition, was really just the cherry on top of a delectable Metal ice cream sundae. But unlike the frozen treat that will someday melt and prove almost useless in a few minutes, “Urd” will stand the test of time as one of the greatest assemblies of Avant-Garde Metal in the twenty-first century.

4 Star Rating

1. Epochalypse
2. Roots
3. The Beauty of Dead Cities
4. The Earthling
5. The Plains of Memories
6. Mount Regency
7. Frostrite
8. The Winter Eclipse
9. In a Deeper World
Øystein G. Brun– Clean and Electric Guitars
Vintersong– Grim Vocals, Clean Vocals & Choirs
Lars A. Hedland– Keyboards, Clean Vocals & Choirs
ICS Vortex– Bass, Clean Vocals & Choirs
Jens F. Ryland– Lead Guitars
David Kinkade- Drums
Record Label: Century Media


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