CD review BORKNAGAR ‘True North’

(8/10) ‘True North’, that’s the title of Borknagar’s next album the band add to the books. Three years after ‘Winter Thrice’ has been released it’s the new album being the second one after having inked a deal with Century Media.

Borknagar, started in 1995 and are one of the many Norwegian bands hailing from Bergen – the smaller city at Norway’s Westcoast. Also Borknagar weren’t spared of line-up change over the last years. The band in 2019 that is Øystein G. Brun (g), Simen “I.C.S. Vortex” Hestnæs (b/v), Lars A. Nedland (key/v with Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow (d) and Jostein Thomassen (g) being the new bandmates that joined over the last two years.

‘True North’ is the first album the band recorded in this constellation and it’s Brun who took the lead when it comes to writing the songs for the new album. Still ‘True North’ is done with a team effort in mind and isn’t a one-man-show. The result are songs that are dynamic and progressive. Harshness and heaviness is what’s included too, giving the album a wide range of sounds. It’s the variations that is extended a bit compared to some earlier releases.

‘True North’ is straight to the point when it comes to the lyrical approach that basically picks it up where ‘Winter Thrice’ ended. From a musical perspective the album is built on wider inspiration. It sounds organic, also in a way that it feels like Nordic nature being captured in notes and tones. The bandwidth of musical expressions starts with calmer moments such as ‘Wild Father’s Heart’, being a melancholic track with folk elements embedded. On the other hand there’s ‘Mount Rapture’, which is reflecting the Viking-/Black Metal aspect of Borknagar’s music. This song is harsh and loud, which includes a massive start with a hoarse scream. The calmer middle section acts as a well-placed distraction before heaviness gains back momentum. ‘Lights’ has these outbursts too while ‘Up North’ is more Rock than Metal.

All in all we can conclude that ‘True North’ is an album that comes with many nuances, all held together by a multi-layered approach, high density and big soundscapes – sometimes harder, sometimes softer and always for sure good stuff for your ears.

Tracklist:

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

Label: Century Media

Genre: Progressive Black Metal

Release Date EU: September 27th, 2019

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