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Finally is it here! The long awaited return of Burzum. The old Burzum records were a brilliant mix of cold, screaming vocals and raw, haunting guitar riffs. Before he started his synth-crap he released three fantastic albums. It seems like this is still a big part of him because Belus reminds me much more about the earlier releases than traditional progression should suggest. This is probably both natural and understandable because of his incarceration, but still a pleasant surprise.
Varg Vikernes has returned to the more guitar-based black metal. On Belus we find both aggressive thrash metal riffing and atmospheric, monotonous passages. Long songs that really sucks you in and creates an amazing atmosphere. Simple, but yet so brilliant. Just the way we like Burzum. The songs are well-written and dynamic, and also contains some spoken lyrics and clean vocals, which I think works great on this album. The bass is louder in the mix than before and the vocals are no longer the depressive black metal vocals that Varg is known for. Instead he uses more standard black metal vocals, which I think is a change for the better.
It`s not much to say about the production. As all the previous non-ambient Burzum albums Belus was recorded in Grieghallen in his hometown Bergen with the legendary Pytten. It doesn’t sound like the most expensive production, but that has never really been a subject when it comes to Burzum. On Belus we find a primitive, naked sound landscape and I think it works great without taking away too much of the overall atmosphere. The production is way better than any of the previous Burzum albums, but is still able to maintain the Burzum sound.
The songs are overall strong, and even though this is without a doubt the most anticipated album since the birth of black metal, it does not disappoint. I am rather surprised that he can deliver an album like this after all these years. Belus grows with each listening and just keeps getting better and better in my opinion. Burzum is definitely back!