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Borknagars epic debut is, to me, one of the truly greatest black metal albums of all time. Here they play a much more aggressive form of metal than on their later, more progressive works. This is pure late-nineties black metal, but it doesn’t really sound like anything else. There is both folk and Viking influences with acoustic guitars, deep choirs and clean singing from almighty Garm (whose performance on here is beyond that of the Ulver records) on “Dauden”; one of the best tracks of of the album and in metal in general actually).
The songs follow no standard song pattern and all of them contain a handful of killer riffs and this is the strongest attribute to this record. All of the riffs on here have so many layers it’s almost insane, they shift and turn and the two guitars never seem to play the exact same thing. The sound created out of this was, to my knowledge, not very heard of when this album was released. Taake is the only band that I can come to think of that uses this kind of musicianship and they didn’t really arrive at the scene until many years later.
The production to is really awesome and does nothing but well for the songs on here. The acoustic elements are perfectly balanced to fit into the blasting black metal parts (very much unlike on many Opeth records) and the bass is actually audible all the way through and doesn’t follow the guitars all the time (how’s that for Norwegian black metal?) which again, layers the riffs into the “super-awesome” category!
The guitar tone is quite cold and “spacey” in a way that really makes you picture the fjords and forests that must’ve surely been an inspiration to these guys. This is supreme black metal all the way through, but at the same time it is quite daring, incorporating many elements and some almost groovy riffs.
This album is highly recommended for anyone that likes black metal, folk metal or really metal in general; and isn’t afraid of the screams (wouldn’t really call them growls) typical for black metal bands.
I would recommend anybody to listen to “Vintervredets Sjelesagn”, “Dauden” & “Grimskalle Trell” and I’m sure you will like it.
Download those songs and then go out and buy this record, pay whatever is necessary! This is one of the best albums ever, and definitively the best Borknagar album.