Borknagar
Winter Thrice


4.5
superb

Review

by Scuro F. STAFF
January 27th, 2016 | 154 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Cold runs the river, warm runs my blood"

An album with the diversity and multitude of talented musicians that Winter Thrice features certainly has its work cut out for it. Not only are Borknagar respected pioneers of the second-wave black metal sound, but additionally we have the staggering track record of every member to consider, with pedigrees stretching from the likes of Dimmu Borgir to Vintersorg. Sweetening the deal even further, former vocalist and Ulver mastermind Kristoffer ‘Garm' Rygg has returned to contribute a spot of vocals, sending expectations for this latest offering sky-high. Fortunately for everyone, Borknagar has delivered, with Winter Thrice providing a thoroughly satisfying slab of music. There's simply no capacity in which this album is a let down. Need to quench your thirst for progressive songwriting alongside suitably blackened riffage? Borknagar have catered to that in spades. Are subtle choirs and grandiosity more your thing? Such techniques are peppered throughout, adorning the swells of exciting cadences and somber passages alike. Even with everything that's going on, the atmosphere remains open and inviting, lacking the suffocating quality that often plagues similar acts.

Granted, the songwriting is a tad unbalanced. Given the slew of talented vocalist at their disposal, there's certainly an emphasis placed on clean singing. With Vintersorg, ICS Vortex and Lars Nedland regularly sharing microphone duties, coupled with intermittent lines courtesy of Garm, there are four distinct styles at play here. This might seem like too many voices for one album, indeed the prominence and saturation of vocals may prove to be overkill for some, but the restrained beauty of every member's performance is an absolute highlight regardless. Each track is a showcase of variety, with lilting melodies and soaring choruses giving way to background choirs and breathtaking harmonisation. The 5 minute mark of ‘Erodent' is a perfect example of the latter working to great effect. Borknagar's dirty black metal roots poke through in the vocal department too, with Vintersorg's growls punctuating the album's grittier occasions. Unfortunately the mixing on his harsh vocals buries them much deeper than is suitable, causing a lack of power and subduing what should otherwise be an aggressive display. The same problem can be generalised to the entirety of the album's heavier sections, as the blast beat laden, distortion filled segments share the same dynamic space as the rest of the songs. The result is a slightly disappointing yearning for a violent climax that never seems to arrive. Alternatively, the homogenised volume fits the progressive direction the band seem to be leaning towards, and certainly makes the transitions that much smoother; only speculation can wonder if it was a questionable but conscious decision, or a production flaw.

While the production may snub the guttural vocals, it certainly flatters the superb bass work by Vortex. As a black metal heavyweight it's pleasing to see his work utilised so well, and his bass lines remain a constant, throbbing presence on Winter Thrice. In fact every member is in top form here. Øystein and Jens breathe life into the album, featuring a collection of trebly, arpeggiated guitar chords on the flowing parts of the album, and reviving black metal's affectionate use of tremolo picked riffs for a more biting result in others. Baard Kolstad may be the bands newest member, but based off his performance on opener 'The Rhymes of the Mountain' alone, it's enough to convince anyone of his prowess behind the kit. With all the tracks besides the penultimate sitting around the 6-7 minute mark, there's ample opportunities throughout for every member to shine, and yet the whole unit feels very cohesive. Every piece is unique and distinct, however the recurring vocal motifs and songwriting similarities lead to an exceptional flow between songs. In the end, Borknagar must be praised for how well they've pulled the separate components of Winter Thrice together, and besides some sparse and minor gripes, exceeded expectations on every facet.



Recent reviews by this author
Russkaja No One Is IllegalNatsukashii Driving East
Disturbed EvolutionKorpiklaani Kulkija
Jonathan Davis Black LabyrinthMajesty of Silence Zu Dunkel Für Das Licht
user ratings (183)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Been jamming this non stop the last four days since my CD arrived, love this album. Review feedback is welcome and appreciated. Go give the albums single a listen if you're interested here: http://borknagar.com



Side note, this one definitley appreciates a sound system/external speakers rather than headphones (especially earphones) so keep that in mind. Lost some range when I changed it up, and the bass + growls especially suffered.

Digging: BABYMETAL - Metal Galaxy

Hawks
January 27th 2016


73696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet review bro. I need to hear this asap.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers man, hope you like it as much as I do

Hawks
January 27th 2016


73696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Is it streaming anywhere?

Essence
January 27th 2016


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's got garm so i'm already on board, will keep this on my radar. ace review as well

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Officially I don't think so, but it's probably out there somewhere.



And thanks Essence, glad you liked it.

Essence
January 27th 2016


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no problem, looks like you definitely put a fair amount of work into it :]



i'm not actually very familiar with these guys, but i take it this is different from their earlier work?

Hawks
January 27th 2016


73696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bro you gotta jam the debut and The Olden Domain so hard if you haven't yet. All of their albums slay for the most part except for Quintessence, which still isn't bad.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm not that well versed in their later stuff so I couldn't say how it compares to Urd etc. but it's pretty different to their early bm stuff that's for sure

Essence
January 27th 2016


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'll give TOD a solid listen tomorrow at work

Mystletainn
January 27th 2016


4050 Comments


Album cover is cringe

jtswope
January 27th 2016


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album cover is nothing special yeah, but cringe-y?



Thanks Jtswope

Sabrutin
January 27th 2016


6440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The band's logo alone makes the cover great.



Cool review, I'm leaving a pos but



[fixed]



I'm digging what I hear but I need more time to let this album sink in. I streamed it on Spotify two times and I'm not the biggest fan of the production that makes it feel more bloated than what it already is. I can't buy a physical copy right now sadly so I'll bear with Spotify's free user's sound quality. The tracks that I dig the most so far are The Rhymes and Panorama.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey Sabrutin, appreciate the feedback man. And yeah Panorama is especially cool. I thought the production was pretty great honestly, but I can see where you're coming from. Anyway, so does 'what' not work in that sentence? I thought it was still correct. And could you point out the missing apostrophes, I had a read and couldn't find them but if I missed 'em before it's probably just me :P

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2016


26087 Comments


Killer review Scuro. I honestly haven't really been tempted to jam Borknagar since Epic, but you make this sound absolutely fantastic. I like how you addressed that even though there are so many vocalists (I mean 4 on some tracks?) they still manage to pull it together cohesively. I will definitely be checking this out.

Easy Pos.

Digging: Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling

DungeonBoy
January 27th 2016


6762 Comments


Awesome review dude! I liked the two singles and I can't wait to jam the whole thing.

Digging: Weeping Sores - False Confession

Artuma
January 27th 2016


31225 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

horrible album cover

Digging: Seizures - Reverie of the Revolving Diamond

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2016


11739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers Spirit and Dungeon, you guys should dig this. Also I'm not sure that there are ever 4 vocalists on one track but there are four throughout the album, though there's definitely at least three on some songs. But yeah its not like they're all just doing their own thing, all feel like they're working towards a common goal.

zaruyache
January 27th 2016


21393 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Was wondering when this was gonna be out. Need to check.

Digging: Death Toll 80k - Step Down



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy