Burzum’s Preincarceration Albums

Likes: Lord of the Rings and burning churches.

Varg Vikerenes.  The infamous Black Metal musician who took part in some church burnings and a murder.  And that is all I’m going to say about that in this article.  I’m here to talk strictly about his tunes.  Right off the bat, I should say that I am a fan of his music.  From Lo-fi Metal records to ambient Synth albums, Burzum has dabbled around.  Regardless of which genre Varg is playing, his music always retained a mystical, wandering-in-the-forest feel.  Burzum has a fun catalog to listen to in chronological order, because one can hear a natural progression of the type of metal he is playing — starting with rough Black Metal up to a more melodic refined sound later on.  So, onto the first four…

Burzum – 1992

Opening up with “Feeble Screams From Forests Unkown,” the self-titled Burzum kicks off with fast riffing and blast beating (off).  Varg plays everything.  He is a one-man jamboree.  The opening track sets the mood of Black Metal that fills the album.  Low production values slime across the whole thing.  This really isn’t a negative factor though, as somehow the poorer sound quality adds to that mystical atmosphere I was talking about earlier.  Varg’s vocals sound like an actual tortured soul.  I don’t mean that in some type of metaphysical way — he sounds like he is having bamboo shoved in between his finger nails.  His guitar playing is nothing spectacular, but he is able to write some cool riffs and melodies.  The drawback in his abilities comes from his very sloppy drumming, although it doesn’t hurt the album too much.  Like with all Burzum albums, it’s about that dark fantasy world atmosphere that the music creates.  This is perfectly shown in “Black Spell of Destruction.”  Those opening chords resonate deep inside your head.  So the self-titled debut is a nice little gem of Black Metal.  If you don’t mind your metal rough around the edges, give it a listen.

Det Som Engang Var – 1993

The second release, Det Som Engang Var, opens up with an ambient piece to set the love makin’ mood.  Each release beefs up the atmosphere.  The production is a step forward on this one, as well as a lot of the playing.  Varg begins to incorporate some vocals other than the standard Metal shrieking.  “En Ring Til Aa Herske” opens with a haunting ceremonial sounding chant before delving into the harsh vocals we’ve come to know and love.  “Lost Wisdom” opens with one of my favorite Burzum riffs, one that fills the listener with a sense of impending doom.  After that we get an awesome ambient track.  If any Burzum track would make you feel like you are slowly walking deep into a cave in Cyrodiil, about to battle some trolls, “Han Som Reiste” is it.  New listeners who aren’t used to shoddily-produced Black Metal are better starting off with this release.  The stages are set for the next two releases.

Hvis Lyset Tar Oss – 1994

Opening with what might be the best Burzum track, Hvis Lyste Tar Oss hits those atmospheric Black Metal heights we know Varg always wanted to achieve.  We have four songs on this record: three metal tracks and one ambient piece.  “Det Som En Gang Var” is a fifteen minute song that uses repetitive riffs and melodies to hypnotize the listener.  Starting with almost three minutes of synth and guitar feedback, you’ll be pulled into those cold Norwegian forests.  The addition of synthesizers over the guitar melodies adds a new layer to the music, working well with the fuzzy guitars.  Just like its predecessors, the album is very simple.  The beats, the guitars, everything is very minimalistic.  Again, this is not a negative criticism.  If the music were too complicated, it wouldn’t be able to take the listener away like it does.  Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is a great black metal album, highly recommended to Metal and music fans alike.

Filosofem – 1996

Filosofem continues with the more synth-heavy Metal sound of the last album.  This time around we are treated to five metal songs and one twenty-five minute ambient song.  The first two songs are up there among the best that Burzum and metal has to offer.  “Dunkelheit” starts the journey off, and although it’s not fifteen mintues like the last opener, it is very much in the same vein.  Repeated melodies sucking you in.  Keyboards adding so much more life to the songs.  The main melody of “Dunkelheit” is not only catchy, but also eerie, and then some creepy, spoken-word passages crawl in as the song goes along.  The furious tremolo picking of “Jesus’ Tod” rapes your ears in the nicest feeling way possible.  Just like the last album, this is a fine work of music.  Those who considers themselves to be serious music listeners should give this some attention.

So that does it for the first four.  See you next time when we visit Varg’s two full-on ambient pieces.  Fuck you.


2 Responses to “Burzum’s Preincarceration Albums”

  1. […] For reviews of Burzum’s previous albums, click here.  Or don’t.  Whatever. Share this:ShareFacebookTwitterTumblrStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  2. […] little wizard of Black Metal?  Out of prison, free to make whatever music his tiny heart desires.  A return to metal, he shall go.  These later albums show a more refined sound though, as opposed to the rawness of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: