Firstly let’s get this out the way regarding the album title which is actually “∞” 8 is not only a number but a symbol, symbol of infinity,.” Putting it as illustrated properly is gonna screw up with the WordPress URL, not something all these artists consider and it is the 8th Borgne album so.. . Anyway the latest Cryfemal and Enoid albums were the last time we heard from the ever prolific Bornyhake who is in no shortage of bands. I always look at Borgne as his main outfit and have enjoyed pretty much everything that I have heard which he is involved in. I seem to have missed their last album but the one before that ‘Royaume des ombres’ set my world ablaze back in 2012 and is a firm favourite still. It looks as though its composer has hooked up with Asagraum member Lady Kaos who has provided keyboards this time around so is not going it completely alone. Mind you when you press play you will be surprised that he hasn’t got an army of demons behind him.
Although maybe not always as full on as the likes of Blacklodge, Mysticum and Dodheimsgard Borgne is definitely a kindred spirit and the weighty ballast of the industrialised tumult of tracks like ‘La porte du chaos’ certainly live up to their name. Howling away in French the Swiss musician backs up the flattening armoury with a distempered and angry vocal forcefulness. There’s some strange whooshes and other sounds in the background and the overall power behind it is going to frighten the hell out of anyone not prepared for it. Chaos is quite controlled despite the at times hectic nature of the songs which are as expected fairly lengthy and have plenty to explore within them. Melody is a key-component and is always to be found within the miasma even when things are sonically obliterating as they are with the second battering track ‘Peu importe si elle m’aura aveuglé’ Bornyhake seems to be getting revenge for being blinded here by deafening us. From the abrasiveness that may yet see the artist doing some sort of collaboration with Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues (etc) we go into one of those gorgeous slow doomy numbers where the melody comes right to the forefront. ‘Un temps périt’ is almost poetic and graceful but a song with decay as much as decadence at its heart. The choral vocals which I guess could be the aforementioned Lady Kaos add to these textures and if you are new to Borgne the complete contrast will definitely come as a surprise; hopefully though a delightful one. Don’t get complacent though the 10 minute winding, grinding rollercoaster ride of ‘Comme si ça s’arrêtera / Stone’ will knock you through a brick wall once again and the central melody would even be likely to go down a storm with Anaal Nathrakh devotees. It really is a gloriously hellish descent and goes like the clappers throughout.
Although everything has a massive feel the two part ‘I Tear Apart My Blackened Wings’ takes us into more epic territories. The slower 1st piece has the lyrics reverting to English and the brooding mass is sinister and stygian with some very strange noises dwelling within its at times funeral doomy morass. There’s a huge sense of atmosphere about it and the combined melody and rafter hitting build up in vocals which become ever cleaner is magnificent. Naturally the second part is completely vicious and the vocals channel an inner Attila Csihar about them as the musicianship, batters, cuts and slashes away like a maniac in torment. Against all conventions the song culminates with eerie noise and a passage of what can only be described as beautiful neo-folk. Somehow it works fantastically; could we have a whole album worth of material here in the future? Certainly not here as ‘Mis à mort mis à nu’ forms the most vicious album track before a finale piece Chuter which is a chilled and lush acoustic closer.
∞ is a case of expecting the unexpected but having said that despite this differing styles that keep the listener on toes here and the hour plus listening time I found it an album that I gelled with surprisingly quickly. If you are looking for a different and diversely forward thinking slab of blackness you will definitely find it here. The album is likely to fascinate me for some time to come as with everything else Bornyhake has touched and left his filthy mark on. As for Borgne they are getting close to the top of my list of bands that I have never seen live but absolutely have to.
(∞/10 Pete Woods)