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Borknagar Universal album cover
3.21 | 38 ratings | 2 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Havoc (6:42)
2. Reason (6:55)
3. The Stir of Seasons (4:01)
4. For a Thousand Years to Come (6:46)
5. Abrasion Tide (7:14)
6. Fleshflower (3:28)
7. Worldwide (6:59)
8. My Domain (4:49)

Total Time 46:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund / vocals
- Øystein G. Brun / guitars, composer (excl. 6)
- Jens F. Ryland / lead guitar
- Lars Nedland / keyboards, Hammond, Fx, drums (6), lead (6) & backing vocals
- Jan Erik "Tyr" Torgersen / 8-string bass
- David Kinkade / drums & percussion

- Simen "Vortex" Hestnæs / vocals (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Marcelo Vasco

CD Indie Recordings ‎- INDIE014CD (2010, Norway)

2LP Indie Recordings ‎- INDIE014LP (2010, Norway)

Digital album

Thanks to peccatum for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BORKNAGAR Universal ratings distribution

(38 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

BORKNAGAR Universal reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Deamh (combination of Doom & Death) Metal of unknown origins. Oh, actually they are from Norway, but anyway, this music they are producing is charmingly interesting for what they are actually doing. Dark side of the Prog we have here guys, even not so hardcore stuff (like these atmospheric Dark Metals where you have to be very patient while waiting for growls and other sounds of jungle).

Check this line in lineup of Borknagar, - Lars Nedland / keyboards, hammond, grand piano, backing vocals, that's quite unusual and therefore even more promising (promise fulfilled, Marty says). There's a lot of melodic parts (or at least harmonic, maybe both) and also chanting. Yes, the same chanting as you can hear on football match. I guess where these guys trained it.

This year seems like inoffensive year, as most of the stuff I've met this year (and it has been a lot of albums so far, I'm trying to catch up with this year and be "in touch" with current Prog as much as possible - I want to enjoy at least one year of doing this). So this year is characterized by diversity. By not just merely depending on one certain genre, but ranging through, in and out (of Extreme Metal in this case), layering and gathering strength, graduating and climaxing. Having acoustic solos, being multi-vocal groups. And this group is perfect example of this "trend". So again today, I'm giving

5(-), because numerous listens proved this record's worth. Correct ? Let's try it. Really, if you hate Death Metal, try to give it a try and see for yourself. It works well even for those who normally doesn't listen to this kind of music. Nice piece of art the cover is by the way.

The album that overcomes boundaries and stubborn limits of Doamh Metal and arriving to a place never (I don't know for sure) discovered before. At this magnitude.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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

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