Some years back I got hold of a copy of Bornholm’s second album “March For Glory And Revenge” and was impressed with the bands true black metal spirit pioneered by the unequalled Emperor but carrying the torch for the genre well and truly lit and aloft. That was in late 2009 and some three years later this Hungarian act is back with “Inexorable Defiance” and whilst the bands kinship with 90s symphonic black metal is totally intact the song writing has improved substantially with each tune being ambitiously orchestrated to create an album that takes on a multitude of textures covering pagan like atmospheres, symphonic pomposity and raging unfettered black violence. As with all these kinds of albums an appropriate intro sets the scene on “Fear Of Wonders” before unleashing the slicing iced blackness of “Swordbearer” There are obvious references to Dissection which is a good thing as they create that harmonically driven guitar work symphonic black metal requires to be as grandiose as possible.
The acoustic guitar work on “Flaming Pride And Inexorable Defiance” has that rousing heartening build up that develops sequentially and smoothly with choral vocals before shifting to “Walk On Pagan Ways” which indeed has a pagan personality with harmonising guitar work and an eventual blast, as yet again the Dissection style guitar work is all over the song. The riff change is excellent and develops the double kick with the vocals still snarling and grimacing around it all. “Throne Of Crows” is preceded by an interlude which seamlessly links into a flawless melody prior to a sudden jolt of double bass and epic keyboards. There is a majesty about this album that is difficult to convey in words; the way each song intertwines with all the instruments to flow eloquently from one section to the next with such professional dexterity. This grandiose nature continues on “Moonlight Wanderer” and whilst this isn’t in the same league as say Septic Flesh or the new Nightfall it has an imposing panache that is succinctly embedded into the song writing. In places the sweeping keyboards have an air of Limbonic Art though I’d say the sound is richer overall, like compatriots Sear Bliss in some respects.
As the latter third of the album approaches some of the music takes on a Bathory feel with an epic tide via the salacious keyboards especially on “Fiery Golden Path”, a seven minute musical extravaganza that has a film score like feel with monumental blasts being bolstered by massive keyboard elements. The albums closing tune I suspect is a bonus track from the split with Nydvind from 2011, though whether it has been reworked I’m not sure, however one thing is for sure the song is unbelievably awesome, and as colloquially put as that is the heavy metal style riff is excellent and makes the blasting section sound so much more intense. This is a tremendous album with superb song writing and excellent songs that I guarantee will implant in your memory permanently.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)