When I had read that the new BORKNAGAR album would be purely acoustic, influenced by Folk and classical music, at times with violin and flute, I was very eager to hear the CD, which originally arrived in two pieces, so I had to wait for a replacement CD... As fan of BORKNAGAR, Folk, classical music and acoustic music I thought that this would be the perfect mix, also knowing the class of Vintersorg’s clear voice.
Apparently Řystein Brun writes all BORKNAGAR songs on the acoustic guitar first and only through arrangements they turn into the progressive Black Metal songs we know from the Norwegians, so it was an almost logical consequence to leave out that last step and let the pure songs flow. I don't know, how often I have listened to "Origin" by now, but even after countless tries I can't help it but feel disappointed, because what I hear here surely has some Folk influences, but to me sounds more like old, acoustic Prog Rock with some Folk, at times pretty inaccessible and in some songs, such as "The Human Nature" even adding a slightly avantgarde-y touch that one would rather expect from, say, ARCTURUS, which definitely does not help the accessibility.
"Earth Imagery" sets out with acoustic guitar and flute, beautiful, no question, the following organ is not a problem for me either, AMORPHIS steeled my ears, but I miss the spark and flow. It still is a good song, though, even though some of the vocal lines make my hair stand on end. The acoustic remake of "Oceans Rise" (originally on "The Archaic Domain") is very nice and shows how you can make Black Metal purely acoustic. On the other hand "White" starts out nicely, but the violin and rest of the song at times seem to play against each other, which my ears are not very fond of to say the least, just like the already mentioned passages of "The Human Nature". On the other hand "Cynosure" and "Acclimation" are absolutely beautiful songs.
In the end "Origin" leaves me torn, as some of the songs are absolutely beautiful, while others, at least with me, miss the mark and that is exactly the point of my disappointment, where I would have expected more from BORKNAGAR, especially in the songs, where this Prog Rock influence is more prominent. The album surely is not bad, but by far not what I had hoped for... (Online September 27, 2006)