Wednesday, February 24, 2010
To call the new Burzum record, Belus, the most anticipated Black Metal release ever, would be an understatement. I'm sure most have heard the story a million and one times, but for the uninitiated, Varg Vikernes, who is Burzum, has been in prison since 1994. For burning down churches in Norway, and murdering fellow musician and Mayhem mastermind Oystein Aarseth. I'll skip all of the rhetoric on whether I agree with what he did, and if he was guilty or not, because honestly, he has made some of the best and most atmospheric Black Metal ever created. Varg did make 2 records while in prison, but those were keyboard only, ambient affairs. They were good records in their own right, but fans have been wanting some new Burzum metal, from the time he was locked up. Does Varg deliver the goods on this record? Yes and No....
Immediately(after a 30 second intro), you recognize Varg's distinct picking style, and it sounds like a long lost song from the debut album. That is, until the vocals kick in, gone are the days of the inhuman banshee wail that made him Black Metal's most distinct vocalist. The new vocals, and some of the guitar work made me instantly think of Watain and Deathspell Omega. This is not a bad thing in the least, but it doesn't really sound like Burzum. To be fair, I have only listened to the record 6 times so far, and I have the feeling that it will grow on me with each further listen. I can't really say anything bad at all about it, in fact, the production is great. It has that classic, old school BM sound, kinda muffled, but allowing all the instrument's to be heard distinctly. In a few months, I may be heralding this a classic. Right now, I am just shocked that Varg didn't completely blow my balls out of the water with this release. But, he has been in prison for a long time now, he is in his 40's, and does have children now, these things do mellow people out. But the music is not really mellow, it sounds mostly like his earlier records, Det Som Engang Var and Filosofem. If you are a Burzum fan, I think you will LOVE this record, just don't expect to be blown away, and you may have a better listening experience.