Borknagar “Universal” (2010)

It’s always nice when your old heroes release a new album. Lately, at least to me, there has been a rush of good/great albums, including new discoveries as well as non-AGM stuff. So with all that eagerness to dig out yet unheard jewels and trying out new bands, it is always soothing to wait for something you already know, like coming home from a journey. You know what to expect. Or do you? I admit, praising expectable work might not be a very good introduction for an AGM-album review. BUT:

There is that with AGM-bands that are first: succesful and second: popular. It’s not as if they break down every border with each album – I for once am most entangled when bands are still easily recognizeable while exploring fresh things. And BORKNAGAR have managed exactly this. From the very beginning, you dive into this special BORKNAGAR-soundscape and yet, there is something new: New harmonies, a new agression, strange effects and, overall, an unmistakable enthusiasm which is just inspiring and contagious. BORKNAGAR have succeeded with the strange balancing act in delivering an essence of all their previous albums (fans of the first albums might want to check them again these days) while still sounding like something new. So the album title is most fitting here – and while we’re at it, kudos for Mr. Vintersorg, this time he does more than ever sound like a part of a band which on previous albums was sometimes not the case. This “universal” feeling, this harmonic unity on this album might also be a result of the return of the two lost sons Jens F. Ryland and Jan Erik Tiwaz, while David Kinkade (a.o. MALEVOLENT CREATION) adds fresh blood with his great and fitting drumming style.

I tried very hard to bring up some criticism, but even after several months listening to “Universal” just couldn’t, except maybe for “Fleshflower” whose only blemish is to be found in sounding a little too much like SOLEFALD (and look, it was written by Lars Nedland!) though it must be said that it is far from being a bad song. So everyone who likes the obvious bands and albums surrounding BORKNAGAR – that is, SOLEFALD, VINTERSORG, CRONIAN and the others – can and should buy this blindly. And everyone else can do this too. I should be very surprised if this album does not appear in the Top 5 for 2010.

-Tentakel P.


Release:  2010
Label:  Indie Recordings
Avantgenre:  Imrunningoutofgenresdamnjustlistentoityourself Metal
Duration:  46:54
Origin:  Norway
Official site:
Review online since:  02.06.2010 / 00:16:00


01 – Havoc
02 – Reason
03 – The Stir Of Seasons
04 – For A Thousand Years To Come
05 – Abrasion Tide
06 – Fleshflower
07 – Worldwide
08 – My Domain

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