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Universal: Comments (MODERATED!!)

Discussion in 'Borknagar' started by Erik Tiwaz, Feb 22, 2010.

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  1. Allfader

    Allfader Kvelding

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    I was talking about the other online shops, as Napalm, Nuclear and Plastichead. They seem to be available the boxset. The Digi ed also has the bonus tracks.
     
  2. Nick_Perrin

    Nick_Perrin Member

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    What? The 2-cd digi has the bonus tracks on it?
    And by the 2-cd digi, I mean this one:

    http://www.theomegaorder.com/BORKNAGAR-Universal_3?sc=16&category=280790

    Can anyone from the band confirm this? If so, I'll buy it. I just bought a t-shirt, and now I'm hoping I can get 12 tracks of new Borkie goodness without having to drop tons of cash on a box set. I just want more music :headbang:

    EDIT:

    Wait, WHAAAAAAT?!?!? The second CRONIAN album has been out for over a year now?!?!?!?!? How did I miss that?!?!?!?!?
    On the one hand, this is awesome because I'll be getting "Enterprise" and "Universal" in the mail at the same time :loco:
     
  3. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    I've now listened to Universal about five times.

    I believe this is one of Bork's best album, perhaps even better than Empiricism and on par with Quintessence. I think this is Andreas' best vocal works ever, the man has really outdone himself. His high-pitched and black vocals are simply incredible, he can be über-black if he wants too, and is way above most black-metal singers (as everyone knows). His high vocals give a distinctive voice to the album, and they're really passionate.

    The guitar playing is excellent, Øystein and Jens should be proud. I'll give more praise to Erik's playing, since I tend to notice the bass more, and I am a bass player :p . I think this is, as with Andreas, his best work yet. And I thought that the solos in Origin were amazing! Well, they're even better now! I think that they're finer since he plays really complex parts but at a much faster rhythm than in Origin.

    Dave's playing is great, although I prefer Asgeir's drumming. Even if I prefer the latter's drumming, Dave's very technical too, and probably faster than Asgeir. Lars really outdid himself too, some backing vocals were very crazy, so I can't wait for the next Solefald album :p . The piano playing was superb too, very classical in many parts.

    I love that the album is so progressive, it even goes into prog rock with some of Tyr's bass solos (that remind me a lot of Pink Floyd. Someone mentioned Jethro Tull, so I guess we're kind of in the same area). The album is also very Avant-Garde at times, whilst also maintaining some old-school black influences, which should keep old fans happy. (Heck, there's a track called Loci for all that matters :p , even if it's not that black.) This is a very enjoyable album, with lots of details; and every time I listen to the album I discover new ones.

    Congratulations to the band, and thank you!
     
  4. mjollnir1965

    mjollnir1965 Member

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    Okay...after one good LOUD listen I can truly say I absolutely love it!! Once I get to know the songs better I can give a better review but I really think this is an amazing album! Andreas' vocal range is much broader now and it fits well with the songs! Simen sounds amazing on My Domain. I see people picking this album apart or they want it to sound like previous albums and I just think it's unjustified. I'm glad that Borknagar doesn't just make the same album over and over again. Great job guys! Thank you!!
     
  5. Azzor1911

    Azzor1911 HyBreed

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    Finally received my box today :)

    Universal is a great album, I don't need many listens to realize that.

    I also generally believe that some albums will grow more on you after a lot of spins, but at the same time I also immediately know when it's not gonna happen. This is the case with Universal, for me (as it also was with Cronian's Enterprise).
    The production is great, everything is mixed in a way so you can hear all band member's contribution work together perfectly. Anyone saying he can't hear the bass or bassdrums, or all he can hear is a thick wall of sound really needs to upgrade his equipment, or has permanent ear damage (or more likely; needs to buy the cd instead of listening to ripped mp3's..)

    My favorite songs are Fleshflower, Havoc and Worldwide.

    The box is really nice, it's not as big as I expected, which is a good thing so now the entire thing can just sit on my cd shelf.

    Will watch the 4 "making of" parts now that come on the bonus disc :)
    Thank you Borknagar, hope to see you live again soon!!
     
  6. darcy

    darcy Member

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    I'm sadly unimpressed with the album. I say "sadly" not in an ironic, eye-rolling way, but just that one of my favourite bands has released something that didn't really affect me. Maybe it's me, I'm not trying to say "oh Borknagar changed and now they suck." It has some good moments, but there isn't a whole lot that grabs me.

    It has the generally good meat-and-potatoes Borky stuff and I really dig some of the solos, especially the bass solo in For A Thousand Years To Come. The drums are really good, I think Dave really did a good job on his first outing with the band.

    The downside is, those common elements- Oystein's signature riff style, Lars' orchestrations, etc- are the high points, to me, rather than being the groundwork. I noticed each song starts with a mellow part, usually on clean or slightly distorted guitar. With Fleshflower and Worldwide it's piano and organ, but the effect is the same. In general it just felt like there wasn't much momentum in the album. It kind of meanders along, and while the heavy parts are certainly heavy, they don't really grip me. The heaviness isn't allowed to grow and expand, it just does its job then leaves.

    The biggest thing was that there just didn't feel like there were any huge, climactic moments. Obviously with a band like Borknagar you shouldn't expect each album to sound like the others, but when I think about previous records, there was always that one track that gave me goosebumps. It's not something I can point at and say "this, here, is bad," it's just a feeling that was absent. Olden Domain had Dawn of the End, Quintessence had Colossus, Empiricism had Gods of My World, and so on- big, dramatic songs that really sweep you up and take you for a ride. I never felt that listening to this one.

    This hurts me to say it, but I really didn't like Mr. V's clean vocals on this one. I've defended my love for him as a vocalist from my bandmates, friends, and girlfriend for years, so to say myself that I didn't like his singing here is a strange and uncomfortable feeling. It's just become very nasal. The chorus part in Reason, the line "now the canvas is all white/and my hands are unsoiled", is the best (worst?) example. There are parts where he sounds great, and I like the growled vocals just fine, but too often it strays into that nasal territory that's hard to listen to. I did think Vortex did a great job on the final track. I really like Lars as a vocalist, but I didn't like the song he sang lead on.

    The last thing I wanted to mention was the organ, which I love... most of the time. I felt it was overused here. I really liked it on Havoc- when it comes tearing in partway through the song, it's very reminiscent of the solo on Resonance from Epic (which is another one of those gripping "high points" I talking about earlier). Generally it's something I'm fond of, and when it's used in the right context it can make a good part great, but in the mellower parts it tends to drag them down even further.

    In general I just think it was weighted a little to heavily on the mellow, midtempo side of things. I think some of the slower songs would have gone down a little easier if there had been more heavy, hooky songs to balance them out, but while there are songs with fast, heavy parts, there aren't many songs that keep the momentum up throughout. I think Havoc comes the closest, and it's right at the front. There is a lot more emphasis on the flavouring elements like clean guitar, keyboards & orchestration, which worked really well before because they were rare and unique. When they start to become the focus, their effect is diluted.

    High points of the album for me:
    Havoc
    For a Thousand Years to Come
    My Domain

    Low points:
    Abrasion Tide
    Fleshflower
    Worldwide

    Anywho. I hope these comments aren't taken as any more negative and complainy than I meant them to be. I know that after 6 years since their last electric album, I shouldn't expect Borknagar to sound the same, and trust me, I don't- that's the same span of time between Olden Domain and Empiricism, and they hardly remained static then, so why would they now? It just didn't do much for me.

    edit: ugh, "review"? Comments. They are comments.
     
  7. Elvina

    Elvina Tree-Hugging Space Elf

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    oh man i feel your pain :erk:
    mostly agree with everything else you commented. i miss the wow factor, like those big dramatic songs you mentioned... My Domain comes the closest to it but it has some flaws and so it never makes it there to the top... Havoc has great potential too, but it misses the "epicness" of My Domain...
     
  8. darcy

    darcy Member

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    I can't say all the vocals are bad. There are some parts where he really nails it, but just as often it misses the mark.
     
  9. Undefined

    Undefined Indefinite Entity

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    All I can say is I am really glad I don't share your feelings. I love this album and I really think Andreas was superb, some of his best vocal work IMO. Different ears and tastes I spose. Abrasion Tide and Worldwide are two of my fav songs from the album.
     
  10. Kerros

    Kerros Kerry nooo!

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    Odd, Fleshflower is one of the high points of the album for me. At any rate, Vintersorg's clean vocals do grate on me at some points, and at other points I love them. Dunno what else to say really, it is what it is.
     
  11. mjollnir1965

    mjollnir1965 Member

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    I think people need to take a step back and examine the total product. If this was the first recording by Borknagar or Andreas...as if you had never heard either before...people would be all over it! It's hard to accept change in some instances. These guys didn't pull a Satyricon or a Dark Throne. The music and the sound has progressed but it is still as much Borknagar as all previous releases. I don't want to hear Olden Domain Part II or Empiricism Part II. I honestly love this album...it is a fresh album and it transcends genres. I hear a black metal sound, a classic rock Moody Blues (vocals) type of sound, a classic metal sound like Deep Purple (especially the organs), a prog rock sound like Yes and a straight ahead metal sound. This album, IMO, is genious and it is stuck in my CD player!! lol

    As for Andreas and his vocals...I think this is his best effort. His range has expanded and does not sound forced. I just believe that sometimes we have a pre-conceived idea of how we want an album to sound and if it doesn't sound that way we get disappointed. I'm as guilty as any other music fan. I do try to be more open minded now. As I said, step back and listen to this album as if you have never heard Borknagar or Vintersorg before. Play it loud so you can FEEL the music. This is music that I feel...that is why I love it!
     
  12. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    I just got the box!!!! Even if it's 'a tad' expensive (€38 is a lot of money), it's definitely worth it!!! The goodies are very nice, the printing of the booklet and box is excellent, the latter is lovely, and the music… is marvellous!!!
     
  13. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    Just got the album off iTunes. I want to give the "first impression" of the album.

    While I want to start off saying this is my favorite Borknagar album since Empiricism, it is a very strange album. It reminds me a lot of Archaic Course, not necessarily because a similarity in the sound (although it is there at times), but every song feels so different. Especially My Domain, although the reason for that, of course, is because Vortex (YES!!!!!) sings on it. I am a layman, I don't pretend to know very much about production and the technical aspects of creating an album, but it is a very inspired effort. This album screams that it's a "grower."

    One thing that surprises me, though, is that it doesn't seem like Origin has had a lasting impression on the band. I mean, perhaps it has on the songwriting, but as a finished product, there's very little evidence of Origin's influence to the untrained ear. I don't mean it's not there... but I would have liked to see more acoustic work on the album!

    I love Tyr's bass playing on this album, also. It's awesome when the music sort of shuts the fuck up on, say, For A Thousand Years To Come and you can hear him go at it. =)
     
  14. darcy

    darcy Member

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    How can you assume this? Why do people assume that if you don't like a band's new album it's because you are afraid of change, or have some huge expectations for how it's supposed to sound? The mentality seems to be something like "well, I like it, so there must be something wrong with them if they don't."
     
  15. mjollnir1965

    mjollnir1965 Member

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    I was not saying that nor was my post meant to be argumentative in any way. I just go on my past experiences. I have bought albums and after a few listens was like "meh" only to go back a few months later and find that I absolutely love the album.

    My post was because I see some criticism of Universal and they make comparisons to older Bork albums. That makes me think that there was a preconceived idea of how they wanted that album to sound. That was just an observation.
     
  16. darcy

    darcy Member

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    Even when the posts explicitly say, "I don't expect this album to sound like these albums, they were just better"? No Borknagar fan, at this stage of the game, would expect "more of the same". But we are used to them delivering the goods- something new, something fresh, something interesting and engaging. It really doesn't make sense to me, to brush off the criticisms made of the album as just "oh, you just wanted it to sound more like (whatever) and you're not willing to listen to it with open ears."
     
  17. Nick_Perrin

    Nick_Perrin Member

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    I actually didn't find this to be the case on this album, which I now finally have - there was just as much frequency of these clean, soft moments and keyboard/synth orchestration on Epic (for one), but I find that the quality of the composition of these parts has actually downgraded since Epic and former albums. The parts feel stale and a little forced at times, whereas all the little acoustic bits and orchestrated parts in former albums seemed more intelligently written, complex and far more dynamic. I'm not sure what exactly happened here but overall the album sounds like a dumbing-down of the composition quality we're used to hearing.

    That's my opinion anyway, as a composer myself working in several different genres.

    I still very much enjoy the album and it's enjoyed many repeated spins, but it is not up to par with several former efforts. I don't want to say "X album is better than X album" or anything because that defeats the purpose AND is impossible to really define, they all have something different to offer and that's what makes this band so great. So I'll leave it at that for now!

    The musicianship is at some of its best here, although often the guitar leads are played in what sounds like a tired fashion, but otherwise everyone performs their part very well. Having Simen perform some vocals again is fantastic. The new drumming is quite good and at times stylistically reminiscent of Asgeir too.

    The two bonus tracks shouldn't have been cut IMO, they are quite enjoyable.

    Overall I just feel like the quality of composition has dropped on this album, things feeling more simple and amateurish than previous albums (not to say that it is amateur, just closer to it than before). That's my main gripe and my last word.
     
  18. Erik Erna

    Erik Erna Sheriff Of T.S.G

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    Well,

    After getting my pre-order and such, I have to say I really love the album. I'm undecided on where it would sit on a list from one to finish, but I really like it. Not Mr. V's best performance on vocals, but still good none the less. He has set the bar so high for himself, that it seems hard to meet it sometimes.

    Love the T-Shirt too, I want to get the logo tattooed.
     
  19. RinoSkWoZ

    RinoSkWoZ New Metal Member

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    I should hear the CD another few times, but overall i like it.
     
  20. Helge-Uwe

    Helge-Uwe Member

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    Word. I adore this album too.

    The bonustracks shall remain as those, as they are good, but to me it makes sense to handle them as a kind of "leftovers".
     
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