BORKNAGAR — The Olden Domain

MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of progarchives.com

BORKNAGAR - The Olden Domain cover
4.21 | 29 ratings | 3 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1997

Filed under Viking Metal
By BORKNAGAR

Tracklist

1. The Eye Of Oden (6:01)
2. The Winterway (7:51)
3. Om Hundrede Aar Er Alting Glemt (4:12)
4. A Tale Of Pagan Tongue (6:12)
5. To Mount And Rove (4:55)
6. Grimland Domain (6:19)
7. Ascension Of Our Fathers (3:53)
8. The Dawn Of The End (5:06)

Total Time 44:33

Line-up/Musicians

- Garm / vocals
- Øystein G. Brun / guitars
- Kai K. Lie / bass
- Grim / drums
- Ivar Bjørnson / synths, organic effects

About this release

Release date: August 18th, 1997
Format: CD
Label: Century Media Records
Catalogue ID: 77175-2

Thanks to Vehemency, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

Buy BORKNAGAR - THE OLDEN DOMAIN music

More places to buy metal & BORKNAGAR music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports

BORKNAGAR THE OLDEN DOMAIN reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

lukretion
Back in the mid-90s, Borknagar were pretty much one of the first black metal supergroups around. The band was formed and led by ex-Molested guitarist Øystein G. Brun, who grouped together an exceptional cast of fellow musicians, including Kristoffer Rygg (vocals; Ulver, Arcturus), Erik “Grim” Brødreskift (drums; Gorgoroth, Immortal), Roger “Infernus” Tiegs (bass; Gorgoroth) and Ivar Bjørnson (keyboards; Enslaved). After releasing a self-titled full-length in 1996, they replaced bass player Infernus with the relatively unknown Kai K. Lie, and headed to the then state-of-the-art Woodhouse Studios to record and self-produce their sophomore album The Olden Domain, which was then released on Century Media in 1997.

While the debut album was pretty much rooted in black metal aesthetics, The Olden Domain offers a more eclectic blend of styles that stunned the extreme metal scene at the time. Black metal, Viking metal, classic HM and progressive rock are all audible influences across the eight songs of the album, giving the record a very definite and special sound. Øystein G. Brun blends in equal parts aggressive guitar riffs typical of the black metal scene with more folk-oriented leads and acoustic passages. His guitar tone is fat and noisy, and his playing is articulate but at the same time raw and spontaneous, which gives the music a distinct lo-fi feel (in fact the whole album was recorded in only two weeks and mixed in three days, which probably reinforces its underground feel). Grim’s drumming can be fast and furious when needed, but it often breaks down in more expressive and articulate playing, with lots of drum fills and builds that bring to mind the style of heavy progressive rock bands like King Crimson. Ivar Bjørnson’s keyboard textures are another hark back to the 1970s progressive rock aesthetics, which are particularly marked on symphonic tracks like “Grimland Domain” and “The Dawn of the End”. Meanwhile, Kristoffer Rygg offers a varied and excellent performance, alternating between raspy growls and theatrical cleans with his unmistakable baritone voice and unique phrasing.

The forward-thinking and progressive nature of the material is also apparent from the song structures, which is loose and fluid, exploring different tempos and moods in the space of a single composition without giving too many reference points to the listener. For this reason, The Olden Domain can be a fairly challenging album to listen to, but it definitely grows with repeated listens as one needs time to make sense of its stretched structures and complex arrangements. Yet, the record also possesses a raw immediacy that makes it easily accessible to those who are not inclined to invest too much time into it. This is especially true for tracks like the epic duo at the front of the disc (“The Eye of Oden”, “The Winterways”), and what is probably the best track of the album, “A Tale of Pagan Tongue”. These are all tracks dominated by strong guitar melodies that are very memorable and instantly likeable. Rygg’s vocals often double the guitar melody, accentuating even further its impact on the listener.

But all songs offer interesting moments, be it an atmospheric acoustic interlude, a glacial guitar riff, or an epic folk melody. There is also sufficient variety across tracks to keep things fresh. The two instrumental pieces, “Om hundrede aar er alting glemt” and ”Ascension of Our Fathers” are helpful in this respect. The first one is a short atmospheric song that revolves around a melancholic keyboard motif that is doubled up by an icy distorted guitar. It breaks up nicely the flow of the record, giving the listener a moment of respite from the black/viking metal assault of the previous two tracks, before the album plunges again into more extreme sounds. The other instrumental track is more of a band effort, with guitar, drums and bass playing around a folksy theme with a strong melancholic feeling. Meanwhile, “To Mount and Rove” shows a more marked classic heavy metal influence, especially in the opening guitar riff. However, this track is probably the weakest song of the lot, with a songwriting that is still partly immature and cannot make the various subsections of the composition flow nicely into one another.

This is probably the biggest limit of this record. While there are some excellent ideas that are genuinely interesting and exciting, Borknagar succeed in channeling them into smooth compositions only in a handful of tracks (the aforementioned “The Eye of Oden”, “The Winterways” and “A Tale of Pagan Tongue”, plus the symphonic “Grimland Domain”). Elsewhere, the song flow stutters somewhat, bordering on the chaotic. But for most part The Olden Domain is a thoroughly enjoyable album, showing a band of enormous potential and unafraid to carve an original and relatively untrodden path in the universe of extreme metal. For this reason, The Olden Domain is highly recommended to fans of bands like Enslaved, Ulver and Arcturus, and anyone interested in music that explores the boundaries between progressive rock, folk and black metal.
Warthur
Borknagar's The Olden Domain sees them crafting an unusual variety of progressive black metal. The primary experiment here seems to be to inject more conventional metal sounds (both in terms of playing and singing) into a black metal format and context, but the real trick is in managing to do that in a way which results in something which seems to be distinct from both metal traditions, rather than simply sounding like watered-down and weak black metal. With Garm's vocals in the picture the album sounds a lot like a foundational document along the way to Arcturus' glorious The Sham Mirrors. On the whole, a fascinating little album.
Wilytank
The second of the three Borknagar albums to review in light of my lucking find I mentioned in my review of Borknagar's self-titled is 'The Olden Domain'. During my initial immersion into the band, I recall 'The Olden Domain' being one of the band's best. Now that I have the CD and have been able to give it more listens to strengthen my opinion in preparation for this review, 'The Olden Domain' actually extends further than being my favorite Borknagar album, but I'll get back to that later. What I will say now is that while it is nice to have the three Borknagar albums I got that day at FYE, I would be fine with just 'The Olden Domain'. In fact, 'The Olden Domain' was the first Borknagar album I saw on that shelf that day.

From the self-titled, Øystein Brun carries Garm, Grim, and Ivar over to continue his supergroup lineup. Infernus was dropped, and in his place is Kai K. Lie. 'The Olden Domain' is Lie's first big album he would perform on, but it's definitely a nice album to have on his resume. The production on 'The Olden Domain allows the bass to be fairly audible and reveals that Lie is definitely capable of playing his part. As for the other musicians, Brun's writing style change toward Borknagar's modern progressive metal sound first shows itself on this album. A large amount of the music here is slower paced akin to the slower parts on the self-titled, but there's still a good amount of fast paced sections on 'The Olden Domain', especially on "Grimland Domain". He also throws in acoustic guitar pieces along the rest of the music in "The Winterway", "To Mount and Rove", and "The Dawn of the End". Meanwhile, Grim plays slower, but at a more controlled pace to match the new song writing, but he still manages the rolling kick drums and blast beats when they are appropriate. Garm really shines on this album. Compared to the self-titled where he sang 90% in harsh vocals, it's more like 45% on 'The Olden Domain'. His mixture of clean and harsh vocals flows excellently throughout, and I always find myself singing or humming along to the "ah" parts of "The Eye of Oden" and "The Winterway" as well as verses or pieces of verses, particularly the final verse of "Dawn of the End", though having all songs entirely in English makes 'The Olden Domain' easier to go along with than the self-titled which was in Norwegian/Swedish/whatever. Ivar and the keys play both more and less of a notable role on this album in comparison to the self-titled. They are a little more prevalent here with piano pieces and other sections bringing the keys out of the back, but they aren't overused. They play less of a role in that there's a lot less interludes on 'The Olden Domain'. There's only one folksy ambient keyboard interlude, and thankfully it's not as dull as the "Tanker Mot Tind" pieces on the self-titled.

I feel like Brun's intended message of nostalgia for a better a better time in the ancient past is actually portrayed even better in 'The Olden Domain'. Attributes like acoustic guitar, piano, and large amounts of clean vocals help this; but the biggest influence is the generally slower tempo on the album. I've pointed out the atmospheric tendencies in the more mid-paced sections of songs in the self-titled. In 'The Olden Domain, the tempos are slower and stay slow longer, thus giving much more room for the atmosphere to paint its pictures. All the songs are arranged in the most ideal order with "Dawn of the End" being hands down the best way to end this album. I can't bring myself to skip any of these tracks, even the piano ambient interlude "Om hundrede aar er alting glemt" or the instrumental metal piece "Ascension of Our Fathers".

'The Olden Domain' has very excellent features, talented musicians playing their parts right, one of Garm's best vocal performances ever, and that special charm that puts me in a good mood every time I listen to it. Thus, I am comfortable with not only giving this album a top tier ranking, but also a perfect 100/100 score. And though I have given other albums the 100/100 that I may hold in higher regard than this one, I will give 'The Olden Domain' the distinct title of being the best Norwegian metal album, which is a damn impressive feat by itself having to compete against all the other big black metal acts and coming out on top.

Members reviews

No BORKNAGAR THE OLDEN DOMAIN reviews posted by members yet.

Ratings only

  • Psydye
  • Nightfly
  • kalacho
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Alex
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • jsorigar
  • IMPF2112
  • Anster
  • peccatum
  • Jan
  • Hazy7868
  • Zargus
  • anunnaki
  • dev_lexthorm
  • jose carlos
  • sauromat
  • trickster B
  • luanpedi
  • sepozzsla
  • 666sharon666
  • adg211288
  • Bartje1979
  • Hagbard Celine
  • Jake Kobrin
  • justametalfan

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
RAINBOW
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

The Coral Tombs Funeral Doom Metal
AHAB
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Death We Seek Metalcore
CURRENTS (CT)
Buy this album from MMA partners
Mental Hellth Deathcore
VIOLENT
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Very Strongest Of The Most Fragile Doom Metal
THE LUMBAR ENDEAVOR
Buy this album from MMA partners
Solypso Atmospheric Sludge Metal
YPRES
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Cerbère - Cendre
CERBÈRE
Bosh66· 3 days ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us