The Archaic Course (Century Media)
by Scott Hefflon
A black metal supergroup of sorts (yet a full-time band, we’re assured), Borknagar collects members of Immortal, Hades, Arcturus, Ved Buens Ende, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, and Molested (yes, there is overlap – this ain’t a seven-piece ska band!) and delivers a diverse eight-song release filled with longing, pain, darkness, and revelry. Vocalist Garm has been replaced by I.C.S. Vortex, and his brutal shrieks and warm, almost powermetally vocals complement the surging symphonic evil, bringing in a woodsy, almost folky aspect to the band. Within each song, there are howls to blackened skies as wolves race through the night, as well as man’s thoughtful contemplation before the beauty and wonder of a raging fire. Man and beast, beauty and the grotesque, devastation, dreams, and the pursuit of one’s destiny: It’s all here. Rich production and lyric sheets round out the package, making The Archaic Course a must for black metal fans as well as a good pick for beginners who’ve heard about this symphonic black metal plague going on, but have no idea what to get. Get this.
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