Label: Century Media Records
A band like Borknagar needs no introduction. After the successful release of “Winter Thrice” (2016), the band is back with “True North” as well as with some changes in the line-up as the longtime members Vintersong (vocals), Jens F. Ryland (guitars) and Baard Kolstad (drums) parted ways. So with this brand new release, the drummer Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow and guitarist Jostein Thomassen joined the band. This release also marks the bassist Simen “I.C.S. Vortex” Hestnæs filling in the vocal duties once again, and the comeback of Øystein G. Brun and keyboardist/vocalist Lars A. Nedland.
With these many changes and beginnings within the band, there were many questions on my mind. However, upon the first listen I was beyond relieved and fascinated! With “True North”, Borknagar shows another level of epic-ness and power! At the first spin, it will be quite obvious how straightforward but progressive the sound is, and, it is once again impressive how the band combines elements from black and progressive metal to make something beautiful but cold! On top of this, the album is very well-produced thanks to Jens Bogren. Soundwise, the clean vocals have become my highlight as they reflect the true spirit of Borknagar’s music and of this album; the vocals are passionate and from the heart, making this element the spotlight of the songs, which is accompanied by the powerful riffs, energetic drumming and melodies. Personally, I felt the northern breeze whilst listening to “True North”; it’s not the kind of atmospheric breeze but the one reminding me of the chill snowy winter nights!
One aspect worth mentioning is how fresh the sound is despite the recent line-up changes. Normally changes bring some kind-of turmoil but this worked differently in this case, making “True North” rather experimental, progressive but nevertheless refreshing and powerful. I can definitely imagine that this might may not become the favorite of some fans but give it some time and even give it a listen when the winter approaches to feel the true spirit! Depending on what your favorite element is, you might find yourself being captivated by the riffs, the melodies or the beautiful and strong vocals. Either way, “True North” is one of the gems of this year that is a must-have. Definitely recommended for the fans of this genre.
- Øystein G. Brun – guitars, composition
- Lars «Lazare» Nedland – keys, vocals
- ICS Vortex – bass, lead vocals
- Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow – drums
- Jostein Thomassen – guitars
02. Up North
03. The Fire that Burns
05. Wild Father’s Heart
06. Mount Rapture
07. Into The White