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Varg’s formula has always been pretty basic in m opinion, especially on his early work. It basically consists or several riffs, basic drumming/bass part, and some cool vocals that build a bit of an atmosphere in the music. Anyways, his S/T album is pretty standard black metal through and through, so I don’t really have much of a problem with it other than it can get a bit boring after a while.
The first thing that is rather interesting for a one-man band is that Varg does all of the drumming on this, no programmed drumming at all. The drumming itself is rather simple, consisting of basic rock influences and early black metal, like first album Bathory or so. The production is very raw on this album, very basic (the word bland comes to mind). So the production kind of makes it drums sound somewhat artificial at times.
The riffs themselves are exactly what you would expect, very simple. Songs consist of about three or four riffs that alternate in verses sections. The length of the songs is what makes it rather boring though. Some songs are rather lengthy, “A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit” is over nine minutes, and the simplistic riffs/drumming make the longer songs get boring about half way through. Varg sometimes screams at random throughout that song and I just tend to let my mind drift into no-mans land getting bored of the album.
Don’t get my wrong, its not that is voice is boring, I actually like his vocals. Some of his screams just feel random as if he’s just adding them to the song for a haunting atmosphere (which he pulls off sometimes at least). The vocals are mixed in almost in between the guitar and drums, basically the guitars drowned his vocals out and his vocals drowned the drums out. His screams sound almost as if he’s being tortured or something likes that in my opinion. He does some long, chilling screams in a lot of the tracks on here.
It’s not a bad album, I actually like it. It’s a rather average black metal album that most fans of the genre can get into, although if I listen to the entire album in one sitting I can’t help myself from yawning either. Rather it is the boring ambient tracks here and there, or the repetitive songs. Either way, it’s a decent album with some cool vocals.