Tag Archives: true norwegian black metal

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

Ep review : Death is Complete (2011) – Urgehal

album : Death is Complete

artist : Urgehal

genre : Black Metal

year : 2011

A black metal Ep coming directly from Norway could not have gone so haywire. Urgehal, formed in 1992 who have come out with six albums until 2009 released the second Ep of their career – Death is Complete in 2010. Uncalculated riffs rotating along with ineffective rawness has only harmed their music on this Ep. The point behind them releasing just two tracks for an Ep traps them in the new unenjoyable direction they seem to be taking. I do not know how my fellow true norwegian black metal fans would react to Death is Complete with the band choosing to beautify themselves with this muck. They probably could have named the Ep – Career is Complete. There is always a possibility of that happening with a release like this one. But my prayers are with Urgehal, hope to see you guys bounce back with your next.

Rating : 2/5

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

documentary review : Until The Light Takes Us (2009)

Rejoice black metalheads! Not many are interested in taking up the black metal scene as a subject on which a documentary/movie can be made, but Until The Light Takes Us is another valuable addition to the short list of black metal documentaries. Released in late-2009, the movie is based in Norway. It has musicians who lived through the early-nineties Norwegian period telling us exactly what happened then. I always repent the fact that I was not present at the right place at the right time. The movie has answered most of the prickly questions that I had accumulated in my mind concerning the scene. And the sources of my answers could not get more authentic.

The opening sequence has Gylve Fenriz (Darkthrone) preparing himself for a shot. And the best part of it is I can already feel the right vibes. The movie traces the entire journey from the roots of Norwegian black metal through the controversies that brought Norway to everyone’s attention back in the early nineties, the reason behind arson, and the truth behind the murder of Euronymous (Mayhem).

from the docu : fenriz

Why this documentary is different from the other documentaries out there? – the movement that we know today as the True Norwegian Black Metal includes a couple of events that we have always been reading about. If I have to summarize the events it would include the church burnings and hatred towards the protectors of cross, Euronymous (Mayhem) opening a records store called Helvete, Dead (Mayhem) committing suicide, the killing of a homosexual man by Faust (Emperor), and Varg murdering Euronymous. Until The Light Takes Us makes the protagonists recall the events. The featured artists are Varg Vikernes (Burzum), Fenriz (Darkthrone), Hellhammer (Mayhem), Abbath (Immortal), Demonaz (Immortal), Garm (Ulver), Frost (Satyricon), Bjarne Melgaard (visual artist).

from the docu : varg

For me this movie is special for a simple reason that Burzum has got maximum footage. We are taken inside the maximum security prison where Varg had been kept until he was released this year. I would want to thank the makers for bringing out the real Varg and most of all his sense of humor. A very pleasant personality his wit makes you want more of him. Moments when you get a chilling doze for your senses include the part where Burzum tells you how it is to stay confined for so long and ofcourse the uncanny silence when he confronts stabbing Euronymous in the skull.

the makers : aaron aites and audrey ewell

The documentary has been well directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell and has a personal touch to it. The production has also been handled by the duo. Norway has been depicted as we know it to be, absolutely enchanting. Background score has to be fine as we are talking black metal here. The song that appears to be the theme track of the movie is The Ballad of the Broken Birdie Records by Múm. I remember looking for the track after the movie. Enough said, too much of praise tends to spoil the watch. Buy the movie, download it or just steal but it needs to be watched. Well if black metal is your thing then I bet you already have watched this one.

Rating : 4/5

Check out this article on the Flaming Skull E-Zine here : The Flaming Skull E-Zine : August 2010 issue

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category : Album Reviews

album review : Belus (2010) – Burzum

I was probably the only Burzum fan left to hear Belus. It was only on 27th of Feb – 2 days after the leak – that I finally got to hear it. Ever since the album leaked I have spent a couple of restless days and cribbed myself for the kind of job I do. I had heard only good things about the album. But I must add here that even if the reviews were bad I would have got myself the album with the same zeal. That is the kind of belief I have in Burzum’s music.

Returning to his fans after almost 11 years, Burzum has not changed in terms of his definition of black metal. When it comes to this genre there are a couple of names that instantly clog your mind. Burzum undoubtedly being one of them has earned that position not only because he slayed Euronymous but also because he is the wolf behind those genre-defining albums – Burzum, Det Som Engang Var, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. And now we have Belus.

I was apprehensive about how Belus would sound considering the disappointing trends certains comebacks have set. But Belus is all Burzum. It is an answer to the shoddy music we get nowadays in the name of raw black metal because Belus is raw as fuck. The album which has eight tracks grows on you each time you play it. I would go on to say Belus is very much on the lines of his best work. Or even better.

There is something about the unique ilk of melody that Burzum produces. It gives me that satisfaction I look for in black metal. Be it det som engang var, naar himmelen klarner, my journey to the stars, or the ever-lovable the crying orc. I get that same feeling when I hear tracks on Belus.

The signature repetitive riffs and beats are all present on this comeback. Though I love each track the ones that are an addiction already are belus’ doed, glemselens elvkaimadalthas’ nedstigning. The only thing that I am missing on this record are those screams, as Burzum has chosen to be harsher this time.

Burzum has given me a reason to believe that certain things in life can always be depended on. I hold things that are close to my heart in high regard and now Belus is one of them. I always feel I was late in discovering Burzum and ever since I heard him, his creations have meant beyond just music to me. Burzum (the word) doesn’t just mean darkness, he personifies it. A darkness that is so pristine, and fulfilling that it gives the antonym of brightness an altogether new meaning.

Belus is another cult offering, with every element intact. If you look for that wholesomeness in your music, then Belus is your answer, and Burzum – your mentor.

Rating : 4.5/5

also read :

BurzumSpell Of Frustration

album review : Demonic Resurrection – The Return To Darkness

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