The Archaic Course (Century Media)
By: Jeb Branin
What happened to BORKNAGAR? I am a big proponent of bands who want to develop and mature their sound but that doesn't mean that I have to stomach everything that bands do in the name of progress. BORKNAGAR have drastically altered their sound and it is terrible. They have forgone almost entirely their black metal roots (admittedly something that was initiated on their last album) and now are playing a kind of 'black progressive'. The vocal chores have been handed over to I.C.S. Vortex and his rather clean approach grates on me like fingernails on a blackboard. He isn't clean enough to be an accomplished prog vocalist but he isn't intense enough to be a black vocalist either. The music is no longer atmospheric with dense swirling musical excess instead, it is a melodic post-thrash sound that is neither new breed or classic. On the positive the band is definitely trying to forge a new path through the overgrown black metal jungle and they certainly sound tight and mature but I can't listen to 'mature' for its own sake and some attempts at forging new paths result in the explorers getting lost.
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