Borknagar was formed by Norwegian guitarist Øystein Garnes Brun in 1995. Prior to that
he played in a metal band called Molested who split up after recording two albums. He gathered
several black metal musicians to his project, wrote all the music and lyrics himself and set
off to record the self-entitled debut album which was immediately released by Malicious Records.
Without having recorded one single demo/promo the band had released their first album. The
album was received well by the metal press and people appreciated the fresh epical sound,
making Borknagar a new and unique black metal band.
Øystein started writing new songs for their next album and signed a record deal with
the major label Century Media to release the second album called "The Olden Domain". Because
of some difficulties Infernus left the band and was replaced by Kai K. Lie. The band entered
well-known Woodhouse Studios in Hagen, Germany to record their follow-up. This album was
a huge success and the project turned into a real band. They also went on their first tour
through Europe together with In Flames and Night In Gales. At this time they also found two
new members in Jens F. Ryland and Simen Hestnęs. Jens was playing the second guitar and Simen
became the new vocalist in replacement for Garm who left the band to seek new musical ventures.
The band started to work on their third album "The Archaic Course" which received excellent
reviews in metal magazines for the release in October 1998. At this time Borknagar was even
featured in Guitar World Magazine. After the release the band went on tour but once again there
were some line-up problems. Grim, Kai and Ivar left the band at about the same time. Ivar
was not a full time members and the other two left the band because of personal difficulties
with the rest of the band. Borknagar went on tour in the winter of 1998 as support for
Cradle Of Filth and Napalm Death with a session drummer and without keyboards. In the spring
of 1999 Borknagar became one of the first Scandinavian metal bands to cross the ocean and
play in the US on a headlining tour with Emperor. On this tour Nick Barker from Cradle Of
Filth handled the drums.
Eventually the band found a drummer in Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect) and a keyboard player in Lars A.
Nedland (Solefald). In January 2000 they recorded their fourth full-length album called
"Quintessence" in the Abyss Studio together with producer/engineer Peter Tägtgren (Pain,
Hypocrisy). A blend of folk music, epic metal and black metal tunes have made Borknagar one
of the most unique bands in the world.