Bornholm: Inexorable Defiance

Hungarian pagan metallers come up a little too clean

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Hailing from Hungary, Bornholm take their name (presumably) from the condition called Bornholm Disease, a chest infection otherwise known, somewhat melodramatically, as ‘the devil’s grip’. A somewhat less painful experience, Inexorable Defiance showcases a band blending symphonic BM with overt pagan/folk overtones, the latter surfacing both in the more heroic – and less dark – passages, as well as in the song themes, which take a similarly warrior-like approach.

It’s a mostly successful venture and there’s little questioning the musicianship or production; this is as professional and large-sounding an album as you’re likely to hear. Of course, that’s not enough to make a great record, so it’s rewarding to find that the songwriting is, at its best, thoroughly engaging, the sweeping compositions utilising clean guitars and grandiose synth in a manner that occasionally recalls Limbonic Art, as well as many more contemporary pagan metal acts.

That said, it’s perhaps not the most consistently exciting album, occasionally sleepwalking through what is obviously hoped to be bombastic and inspiring but instead proves rather forgettable.