Borknagar – Early Beginnings
he year 1994, Death-Metal guitarist Øystein Brun started his work on a new musical vision, this vision had musical boldness. Always being drawn towards musical atmospherics Øystein joined forces with like minded musicians in the metal genre, from Gorgoroth, Immortal, Arcturus, Ulver and Enslaved. Their goal – To rupture the outskirts of what was looked upon as “Traditional” black-metal. Thus the brilliant and sophisticated anomaly called BORKNAGAR came to be.
Century Media Signs Borknagar
After the release on Malicious Records of their self-titled album “Borknagar” in 1996, the band signed with a new label – Century Media – and BORKNAGAR spawned “The Olden Domain” which was released in 1997. Being well recieved by fans and critics alike, it earned them a supporting role for In Flames on the 1998 European Tour, introducing new members Jens F. Ryland on guitar and Simen Hestnæs (a.k.a. I.C.S. Vortex) on Vocals.
Borknagar On The Rise
August 1998 marks the month that BORKNAGAR returned to the Studio with the two new members . After the incredible performance at Wacken 1998, drummer Grim and bassist Kai Lie left the band before BORKNAGAR set out on their 98 tour with Napalm of Death, Krisiun and Cradle of Filth, the band assigned ICS Vortex additional duties as Bassist and brought in Justin Greaves on Drums.
In May 1999 BORKNAGAR were joined by drummer Nick Barker (ex Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth) and rampaged through North America with Witchery, Divine Empire, Peccatum and Emperor, adding yet another legendary chapter in the bands career on the epic Kings of Terror Tour.
The Abyss Awaits
The Famous Abyss Studios welcomed BORKNAGAR at the very start of 2000, recording the material for their 4th album Quintessence. Joining them were yet 2 new members – on keyboard Lars A. Nedland from Solefald and Asgeir Mickelson on Drums. Being nominated for the Norwegian Alarm Prize, it was clear that Quintessence was one of the most inspiring and creative extreme-metal releases that year. Simen Hestnæs withdrew totaly from the band to focus on his duties with Dimmu Borgir, and the band was joined by the Swede Vintersorg. Lars continued to divide his time between Solefald and BORKNAGAR, and Satyricons and Emperors session and touring bassist – Erik Tyr Tiwaz – was asked to bring his unique talents to the bands ranks.
Borknagar To New Hights
One of BORKNAGAR’s bestselling records – Empiricism – was released in october 2001. It was nominated for the National Grammy Awards, and the Alarm Prize two of the most prestigious awards in Norway.
Their sixth album was finished in 2004. Erik Tyr Tiwaz and Jens F. Ryland left the band due to Personal reasons prior to the recordings of the album “Epic”. This album turned out to be one of the most ambitious albums in the Bands history, the limits were barely contained by the sky and horizon. Epic entered the national charts in Norway and got a great response worldwide.
BORKNAGAR’s last recorded album with their long-time-label, Century Media Records was recorded in
2006. In opposition to the forgoing album, “Origin” was all about going back to the basics of BORKNAGAR’s musical universe. It was recorded interely acoustic, and marked the completion of a musical journey.
In 2008 Century Media released a Best of Album – “For the Elements 1996-2006″ as a musical testimony of BORKNAGAR’s decade of releases for the label.
Signing With a Norwegian Label
Fulfilling the deal with Century Media Records in 2008, BORKNAGAR went on to sign with INDIE RECORDINGS of Norway. Jens F. Ryland and Erik Tyr Tiwaz rejoined BORKNAGAR. Not long after, Asgeir Mickelson decided to leave the band, due to different musical goals and ideas. Following, a few months later, David Kinkade (ex Divine Empire, Malevolent Creation and Arsis) joined the band fulltime.
Enter the Vortex
Come 2010 the album – Universal – was released featuring a guest appearance, on the track “My Domain”, by ICS Vortex.
Highly acclaimed worldwide, Universal earned BORKNAGAR good reviews in highly respected metal-magazines like Scream Magazine, Metal hammer and Rock Hard. Shortly thereafter, the band and Erik Tiwaz went their separate ways and it was announced that ICS Vortex would return to BORKNAGAR for live events.
BORKNAGAR reunited with their long-time partners, Century Media Records again in early 2011, signing a 3 album deal with the label.