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Borean Dusk - "Borean Dusk" (CD)

Borean Dusk - "Borean Dusk" CD cover image

"Borean Dusk" track listing:

1. Wolf-Totem 8:53
2. Blood on the Hoar-Frost 14:04
i. spoor
ii. march of the gargantuas
iii. the raven's banquet
3. Scarab Wings and Scorpion Eyes 19:19
i. sarcophagus riven
ii. beyond the stygian veil
iii. nomad of the outer nebulae
4. Lord of the Tundra 12:22
i. stalker of the sapphire dawn
ii. thunder in the iron skull
iii. crowbringer

Reviewed by on December 25, 2010

"It is apparent from the first few minutes that this record will appeal to only a small section of metal fans."

Progressive metal is a genre that has the potential to appeal to a wide range of people. Although in most cases the genre seems to lock itself in a cage, catering to a specific niche of listener. While incorporating elements of many different styles of music the progressive genre tends to block off the outside world with its overly long songs, bizarre instrumentation, and vastly complex songwriting. Such is the case with Borean Dusk's entirely instrumental self-titled debut.

“Borean Dusk” is overflowing in the use of non-conventional instruments. Irish Bouzouki and Octave Mandolin play right along with acoustic, electric, and classical guitars and create for a strong middle-eastern influence on the entire disc. While sounding interesting at times, it is nowhere near to the musical quality of bands like Orphaned Land and after a short while the middle-eastern themes begin to sound repetitive. That's not to say the band isn’t talented, because it is, moving swiftly between the exotic acoustics and the heavier thrash metal sections with ease. Although no matter how much talent a band has, its hard to justify an hour long disc that contains only four tracks with little variance between any of the songs.

It’s hard to pick out any standout tracks here because the album essentially flows as one long composition and everything typically sounds the same. The album's longest cut, "Scarab Wings and Scorpion Eyes," has some rather impressive bass guitar work and does stray a bit into the Megadeth style of thrash metal for a while. Clocking in at just over nineteen minutes it is hardly a song the casual listener would ever think of returning to. The same can be said for every track on "Borean Dusk." While this four-piece is extremely talented it is really playing to a small crowd on its debut.

It is apparent from the first few minutes that this record will appeal to only a small section of metal fans. While this four track full-length does contain quite impressive musicianship on the acoustic side of the spectrum, the heavier moments are rather stale and generic. Couple the two together with each song's excessive playing time and everything begins to drag itself down. For those not already fans of this specific genre, "Borean Dusk" eventually becomes more of an endurance test than anything else. The combination of 80's thrash metal and middle-eastern nuances could have been a fantastic pairing and maybe the band members still have it in themselves to create some magical compositions, but on the debut the fusion falls a bit short of the band's final goal.

Highs: A few interesting moments with exotic instrumentation.

Lows: The songs are simply way too long and do not vary much from one another.

Bottom line: A progressive metal release that only existing fans of the genre will enjoy.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)