When in 1995 Brun left death metal act Molested, he formed Borknagar. The band had the usual array of Norwegian part timers and band-hoppers. Century Media sensing another rising blackened band quickly snapped up the band.
Vintersorg replaced Hestaes in 2000. Simon Hestnaes (aka Vortex) left Borknagar in order to fully concentrate on Dimmu Borgir. The departure lead to the band pulling out of the European tour with Mayhem. His tour replacement was Tyr (Satyricon, Emperor, etc). The latter maintained his solo band of the same name, drummer Mickelson returned the favour and played drums on Vintersorg's Visions From The Spiral Generator album. Grim committed suicide or died of a drug overdose, depending on accounts, in 1999.
Brun was also a founder and organizer for Norway's Inferno Festival. Ion was chosen as the name of a new project by Borknagar's vocalist Vintersorg and guitarist Øystein G. Brun in late 2002. Asgeir Mickelson played session drums for Testament during April's No Mercy Festival in 2003. Guitarist Jens F. Ryland left Borknagar at the beginning of 2003. The band was undeterred and entered Toproom Studios to begin recording a new album due for release in the autumn of 2003.
Hedlund formed yet another side project in 2003 concentrating on thrash metal and called Fission.
The band's next album was entitled Epic and appeared in late summer of 2004. It was recorded in the previous winter at Toproom Studio with Børge Finstad again. The album's cover artwork was Asgeir Mickelson's.
According to an announcement by the band in early 2005, the next album would be an acoustic one revolving around the epic and progressive side of the band's music. In the meanwhile, Brun and Vintersorg completed work on an album by their project, Cronian. 2006’s Origin appeared in the autumn and featured Asgeir playing bass in the studio. It was an acoustic album. Drummer Asgeir Mickelson Joined a new Norwegian band called Thornbound.
Indie Recordings signed Borknagar to a three-album deal in early 2008. The boys next reached into the past and brought back guitarist Jens Ryland and bassist Erik Tiwaz. Even more line-up changes followed when in May drummer Asgeir Mickelson quit the band. The group was forging ahead with the new album’s recording.
A proposed Borknagar tour of South America was negated in August of 2010 following multiple cities cancelling in advance.
I.C.S Vortex officially returned to Borknagar in April of 2011. He would play bass and co-sing with Vintersorg. Borknagar was scheduled headline the 2012 edition of Inferno Festival with both vocalists on stage. The act would release a new album, called Winter Thrice, on January 22nd, 2016 through Century Media. Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studio (Kreator, Amon Amarth, etc.) mixed the album. Jens F. Ryland left the band’s guitar position at the beginning of 2018. He had first joined the act in 1997. Borknagar was recording a new album in late 2018 and recruited drummer Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow to replace Baard Kolstad.
BORKNAGAR - QUINTESSENCE - CENTURY MEDIA
The Norwegian scene, from which Borknagar hail, is the weakest in the world. A series of ex-death metal musicians (Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone and certainly Borknagar) migrate to black metal in tandem and consequently introduce keyboards (Emperor, Old Man's Child, Enslaved and certainly Borknagar) into their watered down fray - again in tandem. This truly predictable and derivative trend captures every single band from this weak country where every one does as every other does. Norway becomes an example for lack of individuality and herd mentality. Similarly, Century Media has to stop releasing these generic keyboard-oriented bands (Emperor, Old Man's Child, Ulver and certainly Borknagar) who all sound the same, have no personality, have ever - increasing amounts of pop vocals and wish they were all in rock bands anyway. Once you've owned one of these albums, you have for all intents and purposes heard them all. And that is no less than an elegy for the Norwegian cattle scene. - Ali "The Metallian"
BORKNAGAR - EPIC - CENTURY MEDIA
In metal circles keyboard is a four-letter word.
The latest Borknagar album, entitled Epic somewhat pretentiously, continues where the band's last album left off. The Norwegians love to use piano, keyboards and organs, constantly alternate the vocals between clean chanting and croaked screaming and are aggressive one moment and soft, progressive or even moody the other. There needs to be a serious dialogue within the metal scene regarding the delineation between heavy metal and other musical styles. That is, at what point does a band leave the metal scene and cross into another territory?
Epic was obviously a grand title to live up to. It is up to the listener to be the judge whether the Norwegians have succeeded in doing what they set out to do. In my eyes though, the discussion can only have one conclusion. - Ali "The Metallian"
BORKNAGAR - ORIGIN - CENTURY MEDIA
An acoustic based, as the band proudly declare, album is sure to scare any true metal fan, add to that Borknagar’s history and no serious metal fan can approach this album with much enthusiasm. As if to confirm all that, Earth Imagery starts like a quickly put together version of a Skyclad or Opeth song. Flutes follow and its mostly downhill from there. Nearly 36 minutes of repetitious songs that can easily be worked into a lullaby soundtrack don’t leave much to for any reviewer to write or ponder. We do not even get a fascinating or original cover artwork to enjoy here. - Anna Tergel