Bullshitting With Borknagar
CoC interviews Borknagar
by: Adrian Bromley
Sure Borknagar's third release _The Archaic Course_ has been out for a long time now, but its powerful array of melody and harsh realms of blackened metal, doused in hard rock sensibility, surely still ignites the passion within all those who still have it in their CD player. To say the least, _TAC_ is a brilliant album (much stronger than their 1996 _Borknagar_ debut for Malicious Records or their 1997 Century Media debut _The Olden Domain_) that helps keep the ways of metal strong and mighty. Borknagar is about passion and the unveiling of emotions one song at a time.

By phone from Century Media offices in Santa Monica, California comes the call from guitarist Oystein G. Brun, founding member of Borknagar and prime innovator in helping mould the band through various line-up changes and studio sessions. He's been with this one-time side project, now full-scale band, from the get-go and has aimed at making Borknagar a well-known name within the metal world.

At the end of the band's much anticipated U.S. tour with Emperor and Witchery, Brun is excited, to say the least, at the last few weeks of his metal life. He has a lot to talk about. "It was a great time for us on the road, playing all those places we had never been before", quips Brun about the tour. "We had some so-so shows, but then we had some great shows. We have great memories from many shows."

When asked about the band's material live and how it has shape-shifted over the past few months and on tour, Brun says: "We've been gradually getting the sound going as the band goes along. I mean we've really worked this material hard. It's great to be able to work on songs and bring them from a studio into the live environment. The music for us has changed a bit 'cause two members quit a while ago and we have two new members, Nick Barker [ex-CoF] on drums and Simen [also of Dimmu Borgir] sings and plays bass, so you can obviously see where they bring in their own character to our material. It's been an interesting moulding of material for us over the last little while." He adds: "We cut out a lot of the acoustics and other stuff from our live set and focused on just keeping it simplistic and being true metal. It's a great time for us on stage."

One thing that truly stands out from Borknagar -- at least with this release -- is their unique way of working the ways of metal music. The band's strengthened grasp of eccentricness and raw pairings of heavy metal thunder makes Borknagar come off as something out of the ordinary. While some write them off as too odd, those who follow this band will tell you that's the key to what they do.

"Like you said", he states, "it's always been about us doing something that is unique sounding. Our music flows in many ways and some bands can handle that and some can't. We're one of the lucky ones, I guess?... We added a fresh feel to the music scene, I believe. Many people have told us that before and I'm beginning to see that a bit. It's always easy to follow what people are doing, but trying to keep focused on what you want to do can be an obstacle."

He continues, "Passion has always been something I have related Borknagar's music to. This is my input, but I think our feelings come out loud and clear and I think people who really get into this music, it's hard to put it aside. I think our music has some value to it."

And Brun knows the importance of coming overseas to play, realising that the pulse of much of the metal fans and music industry lies in North America. "I've always wanted to come over to the United States and take in the culture and just have a good time. It seemed like the right thing to come over and play with the band. I've been working hard and pushing Century Media for a long time to make this happen and when it did we were all excited to be able to come over and play the shows and be part of the Emperor shows."

Any sightseeing? "Oh yeah... we had to do that stuff while in the States. I'm having a blast. While in New York we went all over the city and saw the World Trade Center. We had a chance to go visit Niagara Falls and also while here in Hollywood we checked out all the sites and many bars. Jens [other guitarist] and I even rented a car and drove down from San Francisco along the great Pacific Ocean coastline. It was a great drive and to see the ocean -- that was great!"

With the record being out for so long, Brun acknowledges that the band is currently working on material. "We are already toying with many ideas. How far off is it from what people know -- who knows? It's surely coming together well. I mean progression has always been an important factor for me when it comes to writing material for this band. It's a key factor. We have 50 minutes of material already and we plan on heading to the studio in the coming months. It's different in many ways from what we have done before, but it also keeps the elements and vitality of Borknagar's sound within the material. There has been a definite transition with our material from the first album to the second one up to this one and I'm glad to have that, though in saying that, the essence of Borknagar is present on all the releases."

He finishes: "I think the fourth album will definitely aim at being more harsh and raw, with much more screaming vocals than we have used before. We need to experiment a bit more with ideas but it all seems to be working out quite nicely. I think people will be into this as they have been with our past work."

(article submitted 12/8/1999)


ALBUMS
8/13/2012 A El Naby 8 Borknagar - Urd
3/7/2010 M Dolson 7.5 Borknagar - Universal
11/10/2006 J Smit 4.5 Borknagar - Origin
6/23/2004 J Smit 7 Borknagar - Epic
1/14/2002 C Flaaten 8 Borknagar - Empiricism
8/12/2000 P Azevedo 8 Borknagar - Quintessence
1/16/1999 P Azevedo 8 Borknagar - The Archaic Course
3/16/1997 S Hoeltzel 7 Borknagar - Borknagar
2/5/1997 A Wee 8.5 Borknagar - The Olden Domain
GIGS
8/12/1999 A Wasylyk Emperor / Witchery / Borknagar / Peccatum / Divine Empire Canada: No Church-Burners Allowed
8/12/1999 J Weathers Emperor / Witchery / Borknagar / Peccatum / Divine Empire U.S. of A.: Church-Burners Are People Too
1/16/1999 P Azevedo Cradle of Filth / Napalm Death / Borknagar The Smell of Napalm in the Dark
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