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Review: Borknagar - Quintessence

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2000
Duration: 43:23
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: August 26, 2000
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 3.45/5 (69%) (20 Votes)

Borknagar's latest offering is an interesting album in that it offers what I would call a unique use of vocals and keyboards - they are both overwhelming throughout the album, especially the keyboards.  This is both good and bad, as I found the effect pretty refreshing, but after so many spins, it sometimes sounded like they overdid it a little.  Nonetheless, this remains a very good melodic sort-of black metal album, Borknagar-style.

Quintessence is made of 10 tracks totaling a little over 43 minutes, and they go by pretty fast, leaving me craving for more, and with no alternative but to replay the album .:) The album starts fast and heavy with "Rivalry Of Phantoms", one of the best songs on the album.  The vocals on the second song, "The Presence Is Ominous" are the most notable on the album, as most of the singing is a "team effort" rather than just the lead vocalist, this practically sounds like an anthem.  Some of the vocal arrangements on "Ruins Of The Future" get on my nerves a little, wrecking what is otherwise an excellent song.  "Inner Landscape" is almost instrumental and very short at 2:50, and I found that I always sort of get lost into the music while listening to it.  Very good song!  The rest of the album goes along the same line as the beginning, with the exception of the very short instrumental song "Embers".

Except for a few little things, this is a very good album.  I can't compare it to their previous material as this is my only Borknagar album, but if their previous offerings are nearly as good as this, I'll have to get them!  Yet another great release of the year 2000.

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