Borknagar - The Olden Domain review


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Band: Borknagar
Album: The Olden Domain
Release date: 1997

01. The Eye Of Oden
02. The Winterway
03. Om Hundrede Aar Er Alting Glemt
04. A Tale Of Pagan Tongue
05. To Mount And Rove
06. Grimland Domain
07. Ascension Of Our Fathers
08. The Dawn Of The End

After their successful homonymous debut album, Borknagar release in 1997 "The Olden Domain", their second attempt. This album was a total success and was accepted by a wide audience in the metal scene and thus Öystein Garnes Brun, songwriter and former member of the, up to then, project named "Borknagar", decided to continue Borknagar as a band.

This year, Infernus (Gorgoroth), bassist of Borknagar leaves the band and his place takes Kai K. Lie. The rest line up of the band now is Garm [Fiery Maelstrom] on the vocals, Ivar on the synths, Grim on the bands and Öystein on the guitars (also song and lyric writer). The album has an intense epic feeling and Garm whether he howls, chants/sings or recites sounds expressive and captures the listener in a "fiery maelstrom" of "the olden domain". The fiery guitar riffs evoke the ideal atmosphere, the bass lines lend groove to the songs, the keyboards when they enter the compositions add another sense of forgotten times, the drumming gives a marching tone and all of them accompany Garm, the storyteller of "tales of pagan tongue" under "the eye of Oden".

Intense epic moments, autumn memories fading with the leaves falling down as winter slowly comes, dark melancholy and solitude coming out of the serene beauty of the Norwegian snowy forests and a winter feeling that is always present will haunt your dreams and will accompany you on these endless winter nights. Enter the gates of "The Olden Domain"…

…"The Eye of Oden" begins the tale with atmosphere-evoking guitar riffs and Garm shows his vocal abilities, singing at times with his descriptive devout voice whilst at others he howls eerily. The song wavers between mid tempo moments and up tempo outbursts without losing the intense epic feeling though. As the tale goes on we follow "The Winterway". Melancholic acoustic guitar chords open the path to "the winterway" and slowly the composition becomes more aggressive, yet so expressively epic, as the trail goes on deeper in the mountains with flaming guitar riffing accompanying Garm's ecstatic howls. As the composition goes on the keyboard melodies and a guitar solo along with Gregorian chants end this 8-minute opus.

The melancholic "Om Hundrede Aar Er Alting Glemt" (the only composition written by Ivar), an instrumental song based on sound FX and the piano-sounding keyboard melodies, follows and adds a bittersweet taste of winter to the album. "A Tale of Pagan Tongue" is about to begin; a raging composition filled with "the echoes of cosmic strife", atmosphere-evoking but at the same time sharp guitar riffing and Garm's unearthly voice, whilst at moments the synths evoke a nightmarish atmosphere. "To Mount and Rove" follows, an elegiac composition singing of a hero's pathway, filled with emotions of anger and pain being expressed by outbursts and mid-tempo moments.

The fiery maelstrom goes on with "Grimland Domain"; sharp guitar riffing filled with an epic sense, the keyboards adding an intense epic feeling as they echo from above at moments and Garm with his howling expressing the solitude and frost of the "grimland domain" leading slowly to "Ascension of our Fathers", a tranquil guitar-based instrumental composition with a nostalgic tone prefacing "The Dawn of the End", the ending of the tale which begins with an outburst and howling vocals. A composition welcoming the wintry frost and expressing "denial for recreation", mainly an up-tempo one filled with outbursts, yet also having its low-tempo serene moments with FX, acoustic guitar chords and clean vocals ending the story while "the breeze comes whisperin' soon"…

A monumental album, filled with pure epic feeling coming from the lands of the North…

"The night is born, the christling's thorn
The sun seems dead and somehow forlorn
And the moon lurks above"


Written on 08.09.2004 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."


Comments: 2   Visited by: 93 users
24.04.2008 - 06:13
Liver Failure
Great review.. great album..ill give the same rate

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
17.10.2011 - 22:53
Frost Beast
Account deleted
Great review for a great album. I especially liked the song "A Tale Of Pagan Tongue". The atmospheric riff mentioned in the review slays.

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