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Borknagar - Universal CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.27 | 33 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
2 stars Borknagar used to be a reasonably inspired band that didn't shy away from pushing the barriers of their epic-styled and razor-sharp symphonic Black Metal. After a folksier experimentation, they announced a return to form with Universal.

Returns to form are always sure to cue my scepticism. If a band needs to proclaim a return to roots to trigger album sales, you can rest assured to get a weak and uninspired product, a formulaic re-play that is unavoidably dwarfed by the spontaneous vigour and passion of the original thing.

That's exactly what you get here. Competent but complacent symphonic black metal that is so lacking in ideas and drive that it wouldn't even inspire the most bloodthirsty Viking for a raid on the hated Saxons. Vocalist Vintersorg may still sound like an instigated troll (as my wife described him :) but proves unable to breathe creative fire in his troops.

There's not much depth in this music. It sounds as if no one really cared how strong the riffs and melodies were, they all sound very similar anyway. So do all songs. Universal is an unexciting listen but it's reasonably pleasant and it's accessible, so it might attract new audiences to the blacker sorts of metal, which is always a good thing obviously.

2.5 inoffensive stars

Bonnek | 2/5 |


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