Borknagar - _Quintessence_
(Century Media, 2000)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
_Quintessence_, the fourth album by Borknagar (and second by the Garm-less version of the band) is a record that neither disappoints nor astonishes. A solid record made by very skilled musicians, perhaps slightly superior to its predecessor _The Archaic Course_ [CoC #36], it showcases a band still successfully maintaining the fluidity and, to some extent, the grandeur that characterised their music in the past. However, as was the case with _The Archaic Course_, the abstract strength, brilliance and feeling contained within and transmitted by the band's last recording with Garm on vocals, _The Olden Domain_, is never entirely reached during _Quintessence_. The style is somewhat different, but not different enough to avoid this comparison, despite Solefald's Lars Nedland having added a somewhat different keyboard style to the band. Vague memories of Dimmu Borgir's _Spiritual Black Dimensions_ may also occasionally arise, though they are not necessarily caused by vocalist Simen Hestnaes' participation in that album. As a matter of fact, _Quintessence_ contains less clean vocals than I expected, considering Hestnaes' renowned prowess in that area, and at times some of his black vox are not very far from Garm's, in a way. Nevertheless, the differences are obvious, not simply in terms of vocals but also instrumentally. Although in my eyes Borknagar may still remain unable to equal their _The Olden Domain_, _Quintessence_ still is another very good album from this talented band.

(article published 12/8/2000)

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