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an absolute classic - 100%

endinginfire, May 26th, 2007

This is not only one of Burzums best, but also one of the best in the genre.
The evolution from the self-titled to this ep is astounding on multiple levels.
First, the guitar layering/harmonies are on a whole different level than before, the classic Burzum "tone" that we all know and love was first introduced here.
Second, the compositions have improved dramatically, creating the otherworldly almost anti-human vibe that reminds me almost of the first 3 Mortiis albums(!!). Varg creates his own world and his screams are the native tongue and he delivers them with a profound realism that is hard to find in black metal before or since.

The opening track, Stemmen Fra Taarnet starts out with the classic burzum
beat with a nice fade in and just when you get settled in, the unearthly screams rip into your soul. He literally sounds like he is either dying or wants to die, and thats pretty black metal(hehehe). The middle section is very nice with some very suttle keyboard touches here and there. Burzum is one of the only bands in my opinion that understands how to properly use keyboards to add just the right amount of background atmosphere, an almost swelling feeling to it.

Track 2, Dominus Sathanas, is an instrumental and a rather nice one at that. The opening riff is a prime example of the increase in guitar layering and harmonies that started on this release. Adding with the chants and non-vocal screams really fills out the whole song very well. The overall feel is mid-paced, and although some people really hate mid-paced bm, I feel that this tempo really brings out the best in the riffing. Imagine how terrible this song would sound with a typical Dark Funeral blast beat on top, that would be both hilarious and horrific. Not much to this song, but thats what makes it great. Sometimes less can be so much more.

Track 3, perhaps the best Burzum song ever written, A Long Forgotten Sad Spirit. This song originally appeared on the DSP version of the self-titled, and they took off that version(NO!) and kept this version when Misanthropy rereleased them both on digipack. The opening riff is simply mesmerizing, it drags you in and the screams possess your thoughts and dreams. The breakdown after this is my favorite part of the song. The groove, if you can call it that, is very mid-paced and has a nice overall sound with the well timed vocal deliveries. One other thing that I love about this track is that you can actually heawr the bass, which at that time in black metal history was definitely not the case. The rythym section overall in every "metal" Burzum album is always the glue that sucks you in even if it doesnt stick out at first, but there is some really great stuff going on back there, you just have to sit and listen.

The overall production is almost perfect and really fits the mood and atmosphere. It is heavy when it needs to be, and raw and grim when it needs to be. Overall this album is an absolute classic and a must own for any fan of norwegien black metal or mid-paced atmospheric bm in general.