Hungary’s Bornholm proclaims their own brand (ugh!) of black metal to be “pummelling”, “melodic”, and utilising “all the hallmarks of the style” with “some unique touches”. Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Okay, it’s heavy. It has to be. Pummelling? Well, maybe more a dead arm than a thrashing. The “hallmarks of the style” are all there. But “some unique touches”? Where? Like many who make such bold claims, this is as mediocre as you’d expect. The members of Bornholm are all incredible musicians, all with an ear for a melody and a fist for a pounding. The arrangements are elaborate, the structures are interesting – just – but the combination of folk melodies and the occasional symphonic element with the lukewarm riffs is more Eurovision than it is rallying war cry.
Compositionally, they have a distinct control over dynamics and can stretch a track out to seven minutes (‘Fiery Golden Dawn’) without wandering off the path into self-indulgence. But what they lack is conviction, or at least it doesn’t quite come across. And this is down to the squeaky clean production. As immaculate as a detergent commercial, if the band isn’t praying to earth and sky, they’re either bothering their ancestors for support or risking rust as they parade armour-clad over the mountains and across the mighty cliffs that they revere in inclement weather conditions. Blow the horn, mighty warriors, for a new age is upon us. What, another one? Where are we going to put all of these new eras that all of these bands swear they will deliver unto us if we buy their records?
But this isn’t a bad record. It’s not great either. Melody is well-balanced with aggression and the narrative element in the lyrics makes for an engaging listen but it tends towards the clichéd, the prosaic and the staid more than it does the stirring, the inspirational or the moving. If this was a film, the script would be awful and the CGI would be as bad as the acting, but by the blood of the forebears on whose grave they swear, they would fucking well give it their all! So if bog-standard panto black metal tickles your fancy, get your fill over at Bornholm’s warsite. See what they did there? Clever, clever...
Review by Jason Guest
28th Jan 2013
1) Fear of Wonders; 2) Swordbearer
3) Flaming Pride and Inexorable Defiance
4) Walk on Pagan Ways
5) Archaic Pale Visions
6) Throne of Crows
7) Moonlight Wanderer
9) The Spiral Path
10) Fiery Golden Dawn
11) Towards the Golden Halls
12) Feast of Fire
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Blow the horn, mighty warriors, for a new age is upon us. What, another one? Where are we going to put all of these new eras that all of these bands swear they will deliver unto us if we buy their records?"