Borknagar

Origin

[1/5] Like their Norse brethren Ulver (with whom they once shared a vocalist in Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg), Borknagar have always toyed with the pretenses of black metal; and on their latest album, Origin, they abandon them altogether in favor of acoustic guitars, violins and, uh, bamboo flutes. And the songs-with titles like “Grains,” “Oceans Rise,” “The Spirit Of Nature” and “Earth Imagery”-seem to be about the total awesomeness of the natural world. The result is somewhere between the Bambi soundtrack and an interpretive-dance version of Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, only instead of taking money from the rich to give to the poor, our man uses the money to buy weed, get stoned to the Bejesus Belt and write songs about how rad Sherwood Forest is at sunset-especially if you happen to have a bamboo flute and, like, brain damage. (CENTURY MEDIA; centurymedia.com) J. Bennett