By now, Norway progressive/black-ish/folk-ish metallers Borknagar should be a familiar entity to most ‘bangers. They’ve managed nine quality albums — including new long-player Urd — across a 17-year timeline and had the balls to recall and then host former frontman ICS Vortex alongside screamer/crooner Vintersorg, which is something most bands don’t do unless they’re on a reunion tour/album and there’s plenty of dollars to be had for the inconvenience.
While I’m sure plenty of old-school Borkies would rather have Garm at the helm for no other reason than he sang on Bergtatt and did that stupendous Perdition City album, the dual assault of Vintersorg and ICS Vortex presents an interesting contrast, which in many respects is like fusing Quintessence with Epic. Best of both worlds, so to speak. Musically, Øystein Garnes Brun and longtime sideman Jens F. Ryland have crafted an album majestic yet rife with smart menace. Which is terribly awesome we get to premiere a stellar track — called “Roots” — from Urd, ’cause Borknagar hasn’t been this vibrant in a long while.
“In regards to the depth, diversity and magnitude of our new album, Urd, it almost feels painful to slice off just a tiny bit of the bloody roast for the very first official ‘starter’,” says Brun of “Roots”. “I would argue that each and every song on the new album stands on solid ground, but as usual with our music, the songs empower each other in the context of a full album. That said, “Roots” is probably the song on the album that gives you the most representative impression of Urd. Musically, it contains most of the elements that framework the musical universe of Borknagar, and lyrically this song is gnawing on the very spine of our lyrical tradition. Hope you enjoy this song, the first tiny glimpse into our new opus. The beast is about to be unleashed…”
** Borknagar’s new album Urd is out April 3 on Century Media Records. It’s available for Pre-Order HERE. If a Pre-Order is not an option, consider a flight to Bergen, Norway, but it’s about $1,300.