The second full-length album by the cult Norwegian Progressive Viking/Folk/Black Metal band.
This album marks the beginning of Borknagar's transition to a more Progressive Viking/Folk/Black Metal Sound. This is also their first to feature English lyrics. The Musicianship is excellent here. The albums lineup features some of the most recognizable names in Black Metal: Garm (of Acturus and Ulver) - vocals; Oystein G. Brun (of Molested) - guitars; Ivar Bjornson (of Enslaved) - synth; Kai K. Lie - bass and Grim (of Immortal) - drums. This would be the band's last studio album to feature Kristoffer Rygg (also known as Garm, Trickster G. Rex or God Head) on vocals. It is also their first album to feature Kai K. Lie on bass, replacing Infernus.
"The Olden Domain" is an impressive, highly musical Black Metal outing; the typical Norwegian blasts of sound are largely eschewed in favor of detailed arrangements employing electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, piano, and vocals that range from the typical growl to an almost James Hetfield-like quality. Echoes of Metallica and Mercyful Fate permeate the record, but Borknagar is undeniably carving out its own territory.
The opener, "The Eye of Oden", starts the album with some Psychadelic effects before blasting into the music with some well-played music from all parts and Garm singing (not screaming, singing like his work in Arcturus). This song combines awesome melody parts along with some screaming tremelo picking with awesome singing and screaming from Garm. Awesome song.
The next song, "The Winterway", fades in with some slow tremelo picking, which is followed by some strummed acoustics, making for an awesome combination. This is broken with some awesome melodies between the keys and guitars here along with some quality singing from Garm, this song also switches between Extreme Black Metal and Melodic Metal. The chorus to this song is full of energy; you will love this song!
The instrumental, "Om Hundrede Aar Er Alting Glemt" starts with some nice keyboards going, the music being played here fits very well with the whole atmosphere of the album. Soon enough the guitars fade in, making for an awesome sound. The guitars and keys blend perfectly. Towards the end, the keys get more and more obscure, but it sounds awesome. Solid Song.
The next track, "A Tale of Pagan Tongue" starts with some good Black Metal and stays that way throughout the song, adding in some symphonic elements along with some brief interludes of Garm singing, this compliments the music very well.
"To Mount and Rove" starts slow compared to the rest of the album, but still a nice tune nonetheless. The verse here is interesting, symphonic stuff, slow and with an effect on Garm’s whispered vocals, awesome combination by the masters. The song then picks up with some incredibly awesome sung vocals by Garm, his vocals right here define this entire song. The song continues to shift back and forth between the obscure and, well, the less obscure. Shifting in and out of slow, Doomy, Viking passages between Black Metal is what they do best and it shows here.
"Grimland Domain" starts off fast and aggressive before slowing down into more melodic parts, this song shifts between melodies and raw aggressive riffs well, combining in some obscure, Emperor-like keyboards. Garms vocals are not spared here either, he boths sings and screams here. This is a solid track.
"Ascension of Our Fathers" starts with an obscure distortion guitar riff along with some nice synths to compliment the music; this is followed by a slow-mid paced guitar lead. This song is about 4 minutes of a guitar lead with synths/guitars in the background.
The closer, "The Dawn of the End" starts with some fast Black Metal, keeping melody all the same. The song much like the others interchanges between slower, melodic passages and faster, more aggressive ones, hearing Garm sing is a nice touch. After a long acoustic passage, the music picks up one more time with Garm singing the lyrics 'I close my eyes...' as the album ends with a nice little solo behind it, an awesome way to end an awesome album.
If you don't like Garms voice on the Arcturus albums, then you will not like it here, but who loves Garm's voice to death - grab this CD!
This is by far one of the best albums Black Metal has to offer musically wise!!
Century Media Records/Punishment 18 Records, 1997/2015 (P18R 093). Made in Italy.
1. The Eye of Oden 06:01
2. The Winterway 07:52
3. Om hundrede aar er alting glemt 04:12
4. A Tale of Pagan Tongue 06:13
5. To Mount and Rove 04:56
6. Grimland Domain 06:19
7. Ascension of Our Fathers 03:54
8. The Dawn of the End 05:06
Total playing time: 44:33