Borknagar - Winter Thrice

Borknagar Winter Thrice cover
Winter Thrice
Century Media
Four years after “URD”, one of the most acclaimed albums of their career, Borknagar are back with their 10th studio album, entitled “Winter Thrice”. The most notable thing on the album is the feature of four vocalist parts.  This album marks the return of their original singer and Ulver-mastermind Kristoffer Rygg, a.k.a. Garm, who guests on “Winter Thrice” (lead vocals) & “Terminus” (additional vocals). Other than Garm, Pål “Athera” Mathiesen (Chrome Division) guests on “Erodent” and bassist Simen Daniel Børven (Leprous) contributes to the album too.
“Winter Thrice” has all those elements that a fan boy likes. It doesn’t stray and it offers what fans love in general. It’s Borknagar 100%, it’s extreme, melodic, dark, black, progressive, epic, pompous, atmospheric and majestic. The production is amazing as always. The album was mixed & mastered by the renowned Jens Bogren (Opeth, Kreator, Amon Amarth, etc.) and produced by the band’s mastermind & guitarist Øystein Garnes Brun.
Unluckily, “Winter Thrice” is kinda identical to “URD”. There will be times that you may wonder which of the two albums you’re listening to. The atmosphere, the sound, the songwriting & the song arrangements are so “URD”. Is that a bad thing, some may ask? Yes and no. Yes because the band didn’t show any kind of progression and no cuz the fans will totally dig it. You know most of the fans fancy to hear the same album again & again by their beloved band and they do not care if there isn’t any music evolution. I think that Borknagar have both won and lost the bet with “Winter Thrice”! I also believe that “Winter Thrice” is intentionally too “overloaded” as an album. There’s no room for the tracks & the melodies to breathe… everything is so freakin’ multi-layered and overproduced. This is exactly where the essence of musicality and simplicity is lost. The tracks would be way better if they were a bit shorter too. Anyhow, the die-hard fans will dig it but it’s neither the band’s best release, nor any “masterpiece” that the majority of press is claiming it to be. It’s a solid album, with various great moments, but with a few cheesy parts and it’s too damn close to “URD” musically & sound-wise…