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Borknagar – Winter Thrice Award winner

Winter Thrice
by Erika Kuenstler at 20 January 2016, 1:15 PM

As one of the quintessential Norwegian bands, BORKNAGAR, have a history marked by a steady progression from Black Metal to a more melodic vein, interlaced with over-tows from a slew of different genres. Following on from their 2012 release "Urd", BORKNAGAR are back this year with their much anticipated tenth full-length album "Winter Thrice", due to be released at the end of this week. And what we have here is a masterful opus that beautifully picks up where "Urd" left off, taking us on a sonic journey that transcends time and space.

To me, BORKNAGAR have always been synonymous with creativity, and "Winter Thrice" proves that even after 20 years, their well of inspiration is far from dry. With more clean vocals used in than in their previous work, the melodious aspects of the music come to the fore, whilst harsher vocals serve to add balance to the melodies, rather than to dominate the album, a direction obvious from the very first song, "The Rhymes of the Mountain". Tempo changes are masterfully executed, flawlessly swinging from tumultuous passages to soothing lilted sections in the single beat of a heart. This style is continued on the title song "Winter Thrice", weaving ethereal melodies into a swirling miasma of sound. Things take on a darker edge in "Cold Runs the River", with BORKNAGAR's Black Metal past coming floating to the surface of the music. This stands in stark contrast to the keyboard solo on "Panorama", which hits you like a blast from the past, infusing the song with an almost Synthie Pop feel. At the pinnacle of the album we have "When Chaos Calls", a song that sweeps you away with its stormy onslaught, gradually building up the atmosphere for its successor "Erodent". The penultimate song "Noctilucent" on the other hand takes the tempo down again,with vocal harmonies that weave back and forth like winds whispering though forest leaves. This tranquillity is soon shattered by "Terminus", perhaps the ultimate end to "Winter Thrice". Strong, striking, and passionate, this is a hard-hitting song that lingers in your memory long after the album has come to its end.

Overall, "Winter Thrice" presents a rich tapestry of songs; with a total run-time just over three quarters of an hour, the eight songs on "Winter Thrice" each add a unique flavour to the album, with nary a note out of place. When you hear the amount of care and dedication that must have gone into the crafting of each song, it is easy to forgive BORKNAGAR for having made us wait four years for such a wonderful album. And, as can be expected from such a band, the production is also pristine, with each track being clearly audible. Having set out to break musical boundaries, BORKNAGAR have certainly done so with "Winter Thrice", taking their evolution forward in leaps and bounds. Whilst this will certainly not be to everyone's taste, it certainly is an impressive feat to have simultaneously progressed forward musically whilst still paying tribute not only to the band's own roots, but to those of the Rock and Metal's origins in general.

4 Star Rating

1. The Rhymes of the Mountain
2. Winter Thrice
3. Cold Runs the River
4. Panorama
5. When Chaos Calls
6. Erodent
7. Noctilucent
8. Terminus
Øystein Garnes Brun - Guitars
Jens F. Ryland - Guitars
ICS Vortex - Bass, Vocals
Lars A. Nedland - Keyboards, Vocals
Vintersorg - Vocals
Baard Kolstad - Drums
Record Label: Century Media


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Edited 31 March 2023

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