BORKNAGAR — Urd (review)

BORKNAGAR — Urd album cover Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Warthur
Aside from a few thunderous outbursts of blast beats, Urd is an album which showcases Borknagar's utter transformation from their black metal roots. If releases such as The Olden Domain offered a more black metal-leaning precedent for releases such as The Sham Mirrors by Arcturus, here the impression given is of a taken on that sound with the prog elements emphasised and the black metal almost entirely drained away. Clean vocals are for the most part the order of the day (with ICS Vortex returning to the fold full time), as are sweeping keyboard passages courtesy of Lazare.

Some listeners may find that Borknagar's stylistic pendulum has swung a little too far in a prog direction by this point, though the trend has really persisted for several albums and if you've been listening to their material in chronological order and are still on the bandwagon by this point you'll probably find it reasonably satisfying. At the same time, Borknagar don't seem to have made much of a substantial musical advance over the sort of material they have produced on previous albums or which their members have produced on other projects, and numerous other progressive and avant-garde black metal acts have produced substantially more groundbreaking work of late, and Urd doesn't quite put Borknagar back at the head of the pack.
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