ALBUM REVIEW: Borknagar – Fall

Borknagar is one of Norway’s acclaimed heavy metal acts known for their striking Scandinavian sound and resolute resilience. Their beginnings sprouted thirty years ago and over that time they have proven their merit by cultivating complex concoctions full of genre-bending wonders. They are well seasoned in their affluent brewing of black, progressive, and folk elements making their work notable. 

Their capabilities continue to shine bright on their next full-length record where they push boundaries and explore new depths of their skill sets on Fall (Century Media Records).

Exploration of the cold took place on their last album, True North and now the inspection of the harvest season is considered on this latest release. The opening track, “Summits” jumps right in with fiery determination with indignance frantically flaring. An ominous feeling is set with the dense epicness presented in just the first few moments. Emotions swell and shift as the next catchy number “Nordic Anthem” kicks off. 

Along with “Northward”, these pieces pay homage to the band’s country and showcase their folksier side. They capture the mystery and intrigue of their lands through thoughtful deliberateness. The sharing of these Scandinavian stories have an earnestness and accessibility to them that allows the listener to be transported to the exotic North. 

“Afar”, “Stars Ablaze”, and “The Wild Lingers” also highlight Nordic themes by carrying weighty melancholy. The strings from founding member Øystein G. Brun sing a stoic song that surveys the season of Autumn. The moody, atmospheric moments filled with radiant cleans and impassioned synths allow the listener to sit in a desirable forlornness. 

Yet the gears often shift and when the accentuated screams from ICS Vortex are paired with the punchy drum work a grim, rawness strikes. The themes of struggle, life, and country are all proclaimed with pluck and spine. The many movements allow each musician’s expertise to sparkle. The technicality and close-knit playing captures a fierce, yet flowery finesse.

Their versatility extends into the peppy piece “Moon” which has a gritty, vivid rock influence while “Unraveling” shows off their proggy side with some groovy organ work. 

The vast array of sound and mood confirms why this veteran act is so highly regarded. The earnestness, depth, and guts of these songs captures their land’s wonders and wilds. This album holds up to all their other exceptional work and proves Borknagar still has a lot to offer.

Buy the album here:

7 / 10