3. The Beauty of Dead Cities
4. The Earthling
5. The Plains of Memories
6. Mount Regency
8. The Winter Eclipse
9. In a Deeper World
Urd is the ninth full-length album by the Norwegian metal band Borknagar. Released on March 26, 2012, it is the first album to feature ICS Vortex and Vintersorg sharing lead vocals. It also marks the final recording with Borknagar by David Kinkade, who joined Soulfly after the recording and subsequently retired from music.
Borknagar’s founder, Øystein G. Brun described the artwork for Urd as “an earthly expression…You can almost smell and feel the texture of the old Norse wooden carvings”. Given that Borknagar’s previous album was titled Universal, Brun suggested that it was natural for the band to “head back home to earth” when choosing the title for its next album. For Brun, this choice reflected a desire to “get back to the core of the band”, and specifically “admiration and pondering about nature and mankind’s place therein”
For Brun, the meaning behind the album title connects with the sound of the album: “Even though the album has a very progressive approach, the spirit of the album is very retrospective. Might sound a bit like a paradox, but in my opinion this ‘duality’ is the very core of progression. Progression without a musical anchor is plain drifting. But [there] is more to the title, different layers of philosophical ideas and perspectives.”
Among the different layers of the album title is its connection to Norse mythology. Urd, which is the name of a norn that represents the past when deciding the fates of persons. This entity is taken by Brun as a metaphor for a modern scientific discovery. Brun speculated that Urd “is an ancient expression of what we today know as DNA. And I have always been very fascinated by the fact that parts and bits of our DNA actually derive from the very beginning of time. All living creatures are somewhat connected to the very first organic cell. That is some of the story behind the album title”.
Elaborating upon the interconnectedness of organisms through time, Brun has alluded to the deep ecology of Arne Næss as an inspiration on Urd. “I just love how he [Naess] talks about nature, almost like in a childish but yet a very profound way. He professes the idea that every creature is connected and equally independent for survival. Some sort of revolt against the Christian dogma that mankind is the ruler of the earth. So based on this, I was inspired to turn my head down to earth to ponder about the ‘roots’ of mankind”.