Tag Archives: ambient

album review : Umskiptar (2012) – Burzum

album : Umskiptar

artist : Burzum

genre : Black Metal, Ambient

year : 2012

The story so far…

By now you know everything about this one man who single-handedly annihilates every description of black metal. Google would help you, and not your god, to get to know Varg Vikernes better. The most read articles on Absurd History ever are the reviews of links : Belus and Fallen which are Burzum‘s last two releases. You can even go through them to get an idea about this man who should be the only person commenting on true black metal. But if you have noticed he has never opened his mouth or spoken about his music. That’s says it all about him.

Three years have passed by since Varg Vikernes a.k.a. Burzum (also known as Count Grishnackh) was released from prison. During and before the Hliðskjálf years, Burzum had already usurped the throne of metal’s most underground genre and moved on ahead. In 2010, the man with the dark touch was ready to burn down every established black metal act. Belus happened, and lives changed. The formula was repeated in 2011, and Fallen brought out the black clouds out of the sky yet again. Now, we are in 2012, hearing Umskiptar. Can you feel your erect hair everywhere on you? It is an indication that the bell has been rung, and the year’s most awaited release is here to show you how important your time is.

Umskiptar (2012)…

So what do we have here? Another masterpiece or a strong man’s silent efforts to make everybody obey him? We are looking at a fully charged and matured musician out with his tunes where he reads out verses from a Norse poem, Völuspá. When he said vocals are going to be the most important aspect of Umskiptar, he bloody meant it. What you hear in abundance are the words performed entirely in Icelandic. And if you’re thinking that there has been a compromise in music then let me assure you, my friends, that Burzum has taken himself out of his own boundaries to compile a release that will trample albums without any efforts.

Be very scared of the intro that is named Blóðstokkinn (meaning ‘Soaked in Blood’), for if you do not obey the master you are in for a thrashing which follows in about a minute. For the first time Varg speaks on his intro music, which has chilling beats in the background. Jóln (meaning ‘Deities’) pulls the cloth and we are already participating in the yearly Burzum ceremony. Bring out your dancing attires and robes, because the music is in established Burzum-style. Lush riffs, persistent guitaring and entirely thematic in its approach, there is no difference on song number two and what we know this man for.

As you spend six precious minutes of your life breathing in Varg‘s breath coming out of your speakers, lined up next is a totally unexpected piece of piano intro. It’s called Alfadanz (meaning ‘Elven Dance’). The piano is then transformed in exact same fashion into guitars and drums, carrying the story forward with more determination. I did not realize the nine and a half minutes that passed by during Alfadanz. That happened due to a plain fact that even though you are three songs into Umskiptar you are still reeling under the pleasant shock as to how poetry, folk, darkness and the instruments are all woven together into one record. This song goes slow, and at places releases loads of energy at once with some tricky benders.

Song number four is Hit Helga Tré (meaning ‘The Sacred Tree’). Progressing at the same rate as before, Hit Helga Tré ushers some more grimacing facets and it has harmonies that should be respected for they pause the proceedings in your mind. On the next two songs Burzum talks about honour and esteem. I don’t need to add separately that these qualities have already been showcased on Burzum‘s previous records. Æra (meaning ‘Honour’) and Heiðr (meaning ‘Esteem’) are short, to-the-point, final words on the two qualities which are less about the music and more about the concrete meanings.

Fold your hands as the next three songs are prayers. Valgaldr (meaning ‘Song of the Fallen’), Galgviðr (meaning ‘Gallow Forest’) and Surtr Sunnan (meaning ‘Black from the South’) take you into a fantasy world and to understand what I’m saying you need to just translate the lyrics. Do that much. With consoling twin guitar work and almost no-drums, Varg isn’t in a hurry, as he croons the passages gently so it reaches us. The album’s longest song, at over ten minutes, Gullaldr (meaning ‘Golden Age’) is a one-sided conversation where we, the audiences, gain Norse wisdom. Beautifully put together, the entrancing epic phrases are unfolded, so this one’s about the ambience. The album sealer Níðhöggr (meaning ‘Attack from Below’) mixes and matches various instruments to produce sound that makes sense as the doors to Burzum‘s ninth full-length are seen closing.

Not the ultimatum, the tale continues…

Although many around would see this as a black metal ultimatum being issued by Varg, but it is only a matter of another year or so before he will come down heavily with another biggie. He does not make an appearance, nor does he comment on anything unnecessary. He only enters the studio, records his albums, and gives them to us lowly creatures so we can continue discovering the meaning of our lives. Far from the disturbing world, in one corner of the planet we have this person named Burzum who caters to the known as well as the unknown aspects of the glorious nature of black metal. Bow down.

Rating : 4.5/5

album review : Monod Kinetics (2010) – My Cats A Stargazer

album : Monod Kinetics

artist : My Cats A Stargazer

genre : Ambient, Dream scape, Minimal, Post-Rock, Instrumental

year : 2010


Like watching an ice-cream melt away.
Like taking a leak that was held beyond control.
Like that gaze your lover gives you.
Like that tear a mother lets out watching her newborn.
That is how close the debut release of My Cats A Stargazer gets when translated into the factual world. Throughout the ten songs on Monod Kinetics there never is a point where you would feel forced to have gotten into their side of the world.

Breaking down the album and hence baring what is behind those minds which have come together for this project, the music can be felled into dreamscape, post-rock, ambient, instrumental stuff with minimal vocals. In the age of chaos and despair I have a feeling you can listen to this album only when you are all by yourself. Even two can be a crowd, even a sniffle can be disturbing.

…morning swell… gives the inaugural part of our day a plain transparent quality, …evening air… presents the latter half in an unpolluted manner. …cloud drifter… and …snowshoes… stops time around you while …waveout… and …monolith… pushes you to high five life. The music and vocals on …after arbor… and …undress the universe… wins your heart while …celestial spin… and …future elements… steal your worries.

My Cats A Stargazer drives home the point that if you need to inhale some kind of an energy for upliftment then welcome it with flared nostrils. A visible feature of this band is that if you are a dreamer you ought to listen to this music and if you aren’t then you should just start dreaming.

Rating : 4.5/5

album review : Fallen (2011) – Burzum

album : Fallen

artist : Burzum

genre : Black Metal, Ambient

year : 2011

It is that festive time for traditional Burzum fans like me. According to my ritual I make it a point to buy incense sticks and flowers so I can get down to chanting my prayers for the black metal god – Burzum. Die hard is not enough to express the respect. Last year it was his release from prison and ofcourse the life-changing Belus that had given me a new lease of life. With Fallen‘s release – Burzum‘s eighth full length – this decade has already gotten me to mumble that everything is right, everything is bright.

The seven songs on Fallen accommodate a musically ripe Burzum who was amongst the first ones to write the black metal rules. Not caring how anybody judges his music, Burzum has yet again picked the right cards. With a minute of whispering on Fra Verdenstreet, the familiar raw riffing on Jeg Faller reminds me as to why exactly I could not wait for the release of Fallen till the month of March. On Fra Verdenstreet (as well as on Enhver til Sitt), Burzum can be heard speaking on and off while we are getting doped up by his screeches.

Fallen has a lot of clean singing being sprayed into our ears, and we can hear that on one of the richest tracks – Valen. Repeating the melody in bits and pieces ensues on Valen as well as the next tracks Vanvidd and Budstikken because seemingly that is what makes Burzum who he is. Infact Vanvidd is where exclusivity is bred as Burzum tries more depressive and possessed vocals. The custom of long tracks continues with Budstikken (which clocks over ten minutes) and Valen (over nine minutes long). The outro Til Hel og tilbake igjen has various beats and is more along the ambient lines.

It is a close call between Belus and Fallen, and with much mental suffering I have to say that Belus has that edge over Fallen. The madness that had followed the release of Belus had beaten the colossal effect that Det Som Engang Var had made, and Fallen very minutely settles to a close second spot along with the 1993 album. I’m unaware of this French artist Adolphe-William Bouguereau whose painting was chosen to grace the front cover of Fallen.

There is some kind of an emotional jolt when I have to think of winding up another Burzum review but not before I shoot my words in my own style. If there is a separate planet for all the black metal bands and fans then it would be Burzum who’d cut the ribbon following which he would call the shots. And the rest of us can be sure of dancing to his tunes as he helps our mind to flow along an indubitable path to nirvana.

Rating : 4.5/5

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