眾所周知，挪威黑暗金属圈善於来回组合。BORKNAGAR正是典型的一个，他拥有耀眼的全明星阵容。1995年组建，成员来自多个挪威经典乐队：乐队核心 - 吉他手Oystein Garnes Brun （MOLESTED）、主唱是大名鼎鼎的 Garm（ULVER）；鼓手Grim（前IMMORTAL、GORGOROTH）；键盘手Ivar Bjornson（ENSLAVED）和贝司手Infernus（GORGOROTH）。后来还有Andreas Hedlund （HAVAYOTH），Asgeir Mickelson（SPIRAL ARCHITECT）。这一支乐队的出现打破了过去挪威旧有的黑暗金属传统，创造出了一种融合了黑暗金属、北欧民谣以及史诗风格的前卫黑暗音乐。时至今日，BORKNAAR依然保持这自己在难为黑暗领域发展的探索先锋地位，对於挪威的黑暗金属界有相当重要的影响。
Borknagar is known as "that one supergroup that everyone knows about" in the extreme metal circles. They are widely revered for the great s/t and The Archaic Course releases. People have also noticed that the sophomore releases with both Garm and ICS Vortex have been sub-par. So in this release, Borknagar has a new captain on board, Vintersorg.
And let's just say, this album goes to show that, for first albums with a new vocalist, Borknagar takes the prize, AGAIN. What we have in this platter is 10 tracks of spit-shined black metal crossed with progressive metal. And while black metal purists wince at the thought of something like this, I find that this album is almost perfect in every way.
The instrumentation in this album is superb. Every single instrument can be clearly heard, including the bass, and everyone plays with such a great sense of melody and unity. What stood out to me as soon as I first heard this album is the truly inspiring drum work by Asgeir Mickelson. This man is completely underrated in what he does. If you need any proof of just how good he is, it comes in the first track, The Genuine Pulse, where he does various drum fills and even cymbal fills throughout the track, as well as doing some good blast beats and mid-pace, more prog-like drum sections. Once again, Oystein Brun proves to be a great songwriter and guitarist, with some great tremolo riffs throughout the album (the riff on Four Element Synchronicity comes to mind), and along with Jens, they provide a great guitar section. Newcome Lazare (of Solefald fame) brings a great dimension to Borknagar's music with his haunting Hammond sounds. It adds a sense of atmosphere that wasn't always there in previous Borknagar releases. And of course, Vintersorg's vocals are top notch, having him seamlessly go from harsh black metal vocals to clean, folky singing that he is known for.
Each of the songs flow extremely well, so you never skip a beat. Each of the songs has a little of everything: some sections are more guitar driven, some are more keyboard oriented, and there are always spaces open for Asgeir's drumming to shine, or Vintersorg's great vocal work to take center stage, and, in the case of Four Element Synchronicity's bridge section, even for a bass/piano duet by Lazare and Tyr. It's an excellent album for black metal fans, and progressive metal fans alike. One of my all time favorites.
1. The Genuine Pulse
2. Gods of My World
3. The Black Canvas
4. Matter & Motion
5. Soul Sphere
6. Inherit the Earth
7. The Stellar Dome
8. Four Element Synchronicity
10. The View of Everlast