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A pass - 25%

SunGodPortal, December 20th, 2006

The production and musicianship on "Aske" were undoubtedly Varg's best at the time. With this release his previous studio experience is finally paying off and this recording sounds a little less like a sloppy and rushed demo, unlike his earlier works. That said, there's really no reason to make a fuss about this. It opens with "Stemmen Fra Taarnet" which is a slow to mid-paced tune with more of a rock feel than most of his stuff to this date. The keyboard adds a nice element to it, but I honestly can't say this song is anything special. I like it because Varg usually creates a nice brand of BM that relies more on melancholy emotions and reflection than rage and hate (or worse, SAAAATAAAANN!!!) like a lot of other bands in this field back then. If there's one thing that I think should be mentioned and appreciated about this release it's that this is the last album before Varg began writing too many songs that seemed endless and horrifically simple. A lot of fans don't seem to have a problem with this, but it has always bugged the shit out of me because it just seems pointless to write a song that's 20 minutes long that consists of only 2 to 3 strictly average and generic riffs. The next track is "Dominus Sathanas" and here's where I start to have a problem with this album. It may not be the same for everyone, but I strongly prefer the demo version of this titled "Rite of Cleansure." The album version feels like it goes nowhere because it doesn't have time to. It's pointless. There were many cool parts that were left out and I don't think the production really works with this one at all. The other reviewer stated that it sounded "evil as fuck," but I honestly have no clue where that comes from. It's a pretty normal and subdued instrumental that sounds more curious than foul. Last is "A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit." I HATE this version. While the rest of the production sounds better than the original, the guitars are mush and that totally kills it because you can barely tell what he's playing in comparison to the crystal clarity of the guitar tracks from the "Burzum" version. There are also two other things I don't like about it. I don't like how when it first comes in one of the guitars kicks in before the other, or one of them is late. I'm not sure which. In my mind that sounds sloppy and suggests carelessness. I can't believe he would let a fuck up like that be right in the opening of the song. You may say that I'm looking into it too much, but with music that's supposed to be as deep as this it's hard not to. The other thing I don't like about this version is the first slower section. It sounds too slow compared with the original which was as perfect as it could have been, all things considered. I can't believe that this version is on the re-release instead of the original and superior version.

In conclusion I don't see what makes this so great. It has one good song and two that were done better elsewhere. One song does not make an album worth buying or praising. As for the cover... Would anyone really know what it was if they weren't more interested in the "legend" of Burzum and Varg than the music itself? Don't let the politics and crimes get in the way of the music, because at the end of the day it's the songs that make the album. I think "Aske" sucks because it has virtually nothing to offer. If you've read any other Burzum reviews I've made you probably think that I just don't understand this type of thing or that I simply have something against Vikernes personally. While I loathe fascists, that assumption would be totally incorrect because I feel that he was a very gifted composer, but he made sloppy music and had a few too many bad ideas which almost ruined his music and others that ruined his life. A shame. I'll give it 20 points for the first track and 5 for the improved drum sound.