Borknagar is a progressive black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1995 by Øystein Garnes Brun. The band’s style combines black metal and folk metal with progressive and melodic elements. Borknagar’s lyrics often deal with philosophy, paganism, nature, and the cosmos.
Borknagar was founded by Øystein Brun, then a member of the Norwegian death metal band Molested, when he became tired of the brutal aspects of the band’s music. Øystein formed Borknagar to explore a more melodic outlet of expression, inspired by the burgeoning black metal movement Norway was experiencing and looking to push the boundaries of what was considered “traditional” black metal music. He wrote all of the music and lyrics, and gathered together an all-star group of black metal musicians to play in his band, such as Infernus of Gorgoroth, Grim of Immortal and Gorgoroth, and Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved.
When Garm of Ulver, Head Control System, and Arcturus joined the project, it brought the band immediate attention. The band never even recorded a demo; they simply asked for a record contract on Malicious Records and were granted their request based on the strength of this lineup. Borknagar’s music instantly gained fans and received positive press attention. In 1999, Grim committed suicide using sleeping pills. He was replaced by Justin Greaves who left shortly after to be replaced by Asgeir Mickelson.
Borknagar has released ten albums to date. Their self-titled debut album features lyrics solely in Norwegian; all subsequent albums have featured lyrics written in English exclusively (however, The Olden Domain featured an instrumental track titled in Norwegian). Aside from Brun’s lyrical contributions, the band has featured lyrics by other members as well: ICS Vortex from Arcturus and ex-Dimmu Borgir, drummer Asgeir Mickelson, keyboardist Lars Nedland and more recently by current vocalist Vintersorg from Otyg and his eponymous band. Bassist Jan Erik Tiwaz (a.k.a. Tyr) wrote the song ‘The View of Everlast’. All of the band’s records (excluding the original pressing of the debut album) have been released by the label Century Media. Borknagar has toured with various bands including Emperor, Peccatum, In Flames, Morbid Angel, and Cradle of Filth.
Borknagar released a lighter album, Origin, which is “an acoustic effort based entirely on the epic and progressive aspect of the band”, according to Øystein G. Brun’s statement on blabbermouth.net.
In late December 2007, the band signed a three-album deal with the Norwegian label Indie Recordings. In March 2008, Asgeir posted an announcement from Øystein on UltimateMetal forums stating that Erik Tiwaz and Jens F. Ryland had again become official members of the band, and that the band were aiming for a January 2009 release. In May 2008, Øystein released another statement announcing Asgeir’s departure as the band’s drummer, due to “evolving differences in musical ideas and visions […] The split happens in friendly manner and with mutual respect for the decision that he has made. He will remain a good friend of the band.”
2010 would see Borknagar’s next, and eighth release, titled Universal, following their departure from Century Media Records, released on Indie Records. This album marks the return of guitarist Jens F. Ryland, and also features the vocals of ICS Vortex on the final track, before his official return to the band.
In 2012, Borknagar would release their ninth album, titled Urd. This was a return to Century Media Records. This would also feature both ICS Vortex and Vintersorg on vocal duty.
The winter of 2016 would see another release from Borknagar, their tenth album titled Winter Thrice.
Norwegian epic black metal pioneers BORKNAGAR have parted ways with their longtime guitarist Jens F. Ryland. The band says in a statement: “We would like to thank and […]
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