Borknagar Epic

The title of this record is a gross understatement. The good reasons for writing an album over 30 minutes long are few and far between, but an entire hour of murky metal madness is more than enough. The theme of this record is keyboard melodies completed with all the effects to make it sound gothic and medieval. Any avid black metal warrior is certain to identify and admire Borknagar's threatening tunes. They also incorporate the deep, nasal vocals European power acts are famous for, bringing to mind some of the symphonic qualities of Blind Guardian. The clean singing parts manage to stray from their innately annoying presentation and become catchy, tying the songs together. Folk-ish flutes (which are probably just more keyboards) hint of the pagan nature they are aiming to capture. This being their sixth album, Epic displays mature and experienced musicianship and creative layering throughout the songs. The problem with this record lies in its length. Two songs feel like an eternity, but there are still ten more to follow. Things don’t change much. For someone who enjoys this kind of music it’s definitely worth a listen but dabblers beware as it's nothing you could easily distinguish from the pack. It would be really amazing if bands like this actually played out the music scenarios on stage, maybe using dwarves and busty maidens to highlight live performances. Although only once, Rick Wakeman from Yes did it on ice and no doubt, the hours just flew by. (Century Media)