Review by Adam M on April 1, 2012.
Borknagar have returned for another Progressive and Folk laced release and a good one it is. There are numerous mood shifts that make this album constantly interesting at every corner. The combination of clean, melodic vocals with the occasional Black Metal rasp makes for an interesting concoction. At times, the band sounds like a pure Black Metal band and at others a more ballad driven atmospheric act. Regardless, the band sounds like they’re laying the foundation for ancient structures at almost every corner of this very strong effort.
The early portions of the release aren’t amazing, but a very strong start for the release in general. 'Frostrite' has more clean vocals than almost any song to be found and is one of the most memorable tracks as well. The release is littered with strong tracks though including a Metallica cover that is probably even superior to the original. In terms of innovation and depth, some of both can be found here. The band expands on the sound of their previous albums slightly, but really maintains what albums like personal favourite "Quintessence" great. The band is generally quite reliable and proves to be easily stronger than the related outfit Vintersorg on "Urd". In terms of musical performances, there is little to be faulted, but epic nature that they form together that is the most noteworthy aspect of this album.
Progressive, yet melodic, the album still doesn’t have quite as many stellar moments as something like "Axioma Ethica Odini" by Enslaved, but it’s only a small step below that. This album is very worthy to anyone that likes inventive and thoughtful music that is wrapped within a very structured framework. There anything overly complex on "Urd", but it is interesting enough to keep you constantly coming back for more.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.7 out of 10