BORKNAGAR are a true phenomenon. Hardly any other band manages so masterfully to build on its very own sound and to continue to go through a remarkable evolution, also processing avantgardistic elements, without losing itself or the red line in the compositions. Ever since their debut in 1996 the band around mastermind Øystein G. Brun has gone through a lot of line up changes, but never had there been a break in its consistency.
This man without a doubt is an extraordinary talent, because to combine all of these elements in such a cohesive way, demands a lot of skills. BORKNAGAR cover the whole spectrum from dreamy to furious, all soundscapes that this genre has to offer can be found here. This band is miles away from regular and simple Black Metal, still the dreaded expression “evolution” is not just a hollow shell, but trump.
Ever since the Norwegians are a band, which you can describe only very inadequately with a simple review, as their sound is so multi-faceted and multifarious that one would technically review each and every song to really give you the whole picture. This begins with the furiously starting “Future Reminiscence”, which alternates between furious blast beats with harsh vocals and a lot more melodic and slower passages with the typical clear vocals of Vintersorg and then another great passage with acoustic guitars, flutes, clear vocals and a bit of choir, a great start for sure!
“Sealed Chambers Of Electricity“ offers us all vocal styles you could think of, shouted, screamed, shrieked, cleanly sung, growled or whispered, here we get it all and Vintersorg clearly proves that he is the most probably ideal vocalist for BORKNAGAR. “Relate (Dialogue)” is a truly monumental track starting out with acoustic guitars and a bit of clean guitar, then following this up with a stomping rhythm and double-bass underneath, plus “Hoo” and “Hah” shouts, again with very strong clean vocals, a little masterpiece here!
Once more we accompany the Norwegians (and one Swede) on a roller coaster ride of emotions, as very well displayed by “Circled”, here we get everything from very quite to damn heavy. No song sounds like the one before and still nothing sounds disjointed, this is true talent! The quite extravagant artwork by Asgeir Mickelson is the almost perfect visual translation of the just as extravagant music of the quartet. And another quite interesting phenomenon: On the first two albums we had Garm as singer. On the third and fourth it’s been I.C.S. Vortex. On the fifth and sixth Vintersorg. Anybody try to have a guess, who will be behind the mic on the next album?
Surely „Epic“ is no CD to listen to in the background, for that it is far too layered and complex, but if you give it a bit of time, then, as the rest of the BORKNAGAR albums, it unfolds its very own appeal, which you hardly find with any other band. Again a strong album by a unique band… (Online June 26, 2004)