Live at 1720

Los Angeles, CA

May 22nd, 2022

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Borknagar are hard to classify. Hailing from Bergen Norway, they combine many genres in their substantial history, everything from progressive, to folk, to black metal - often all in one song.

Founded in 1995 by Øystein Garnes Brun, they have had a large roster of musicians come and go but have always maintained an even keel due to his guidance and song writing.

The current lineup is arguably the strongest its ever been with the last three records featuring an amazing gathering of talent. Lazare plays keyboards but also shares vocal duties with the one and only ICS Vortex (ex Dimmu Borgir).

ICS also plays bass guitar and is joined in the string instruments with Jostein Thomassen on guitar and the man himself, Øystein Garnes Brun playing guitar. Jostein lent growled vocals on many songs as well. Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow rounds out the group on drums.

Borknagar are quite a heady band, ranging from all out circle pit inducing metal to ballads of beauty and melancholy. Their lyrics are often very deep endeavors, discussing nature, the universe, and esoteric theories.

Their latest album, "True North" is a true masterpiece, and encompasses all of their sounds and ideals. The stand-out moment of the show for me was "Voices" which closes out this album . It is one of the aforementioned melodic ballads, and is unbelievably moving. They performed it with perfection and definitely something I will remember for years to come. I highly recommend checking out their latest album and if you can, seeing them live.

Set list:

The Fire That Burns


The Rhymes of the Mountain

Up North



The Dawn of the End

Winter Thrice