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A phenomenal display of composition - 95%

Feeble_screams, January 24th, 2006

Where to begin with this one.... Well, stating that this is Varg's best release is probably not an understatement (although "best" is subjective). This album has everything, from upbeat black n' roll to utter black metal hatred & fury to ambient darkness. It's a varied peice of work, to say the least. This album is an emotional roller-coster full of soft beautiful melodies and pure fucking hatred and torment. It's quite hard to put all of my feelings about this album into this review, because there's just something that captivates you when you listen to this in it's entirety. It's an impressive album of sorts, essentially. Now, I'm not going to go into detail about the instrumentation and vocals, because of course everyone knows all of those minor traits and aspects (or at least you should by now considering the popularity of Burzum). I'll do a song by song review on this one instead.

Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown - This one clocks at about 7 minutes and 30 seconds, and the song structure is rather strange. None of the riffs are repeated and the song sort of gives off the feeling of driving slowly down a dirt road in the black of night. At first, the song begins with a series of fast riffs and blast beats. It then slows down, and the further it progresses, it falls more and more into a very dark, depressive state of mind. And then, it reaches a point where all instruments stop aside from the guitar which gives a build up of all the despair, hatred, and inner torture to surface. Then, it all explodes, and if Varg ever had a moment of 'suicidal black metal' as many would label it, this would be it. Everytime this part arrives, a serious chill washes over me. This song is indeed, fucking cold. So to speak, of course. Then, the ferocity subsides and a soft melancholic riff takes over until the end. A very dark, impressionable introduction to this album.

Ea, Lord of the Depths - Your standard early 90's Norwegian black metal anthem. Pounding double bass, hate fueled black metal riffing, and even a complimentary solo at the end. It's very repetitive, but nonetheless, a classic.

Spell of Destruction - This one is very depressive, and basically demands you to contemplate your very existence. Listen to this when you're down, and this song will have you shaking with hopelessness and utter despair. I consider this to be one of the most extreme songs ever recorded (that I've heard), and also one of the most beautifully crafted peices of (extreme) art that I've come across. Varg's vocals are filled with nothing but agony, and the music compliments that very well. Near the end, everything stops save for an eerie violin (perhaps he used an effects processor to achieve that tone) accompanied by Varg spilling out whatever inner torture he seemed to possess at the time. If suicide had a sound, this would very well suffice.

Channeling the Power of Souls Into a New God - A break from all of the mental meltdown, but this one still retains that melancholic feel. It's an ambient track, and sets the listener into a trance; a state of mind lost in another world. This song is composed well, and fits perfectly in place here. Varg certainly achieved his intention here, which was to "put the listener to sleep."

War - Heavily influenced by Bathory's song, (titled the same, no doubt), it's upbeat and fairly catchy. This one is short, and contains a solo at the end performed by Euronymous, evidently.

The Crying Orc - A short but effective solo guitar instrumental. A very memorable piece.

My Journey to the Stars - Your standard black metal Burzum right here, and that's about all I've got to say about it.

Dungeons of Darkness - What's the point? Well, another ambient track, save for any trace of music. Actually, I enjoy it from time to time, except for when the noise in the background gets louder and louder. Somehow though it seems to fit the album, as it makes for a good transition into Aske.

Stemmen Fra Taarnet - Beginning from this track until the end of the album is the mini Aske LP that Varg added onto the original. I think it's a great addition, because it seems to fullfill the void left by the former. This one is more repetitive and trance inducing, a notable predecessor to his latter works. I really enjoy this one.

Dominus Sathanas - Instrumental. Catchy, slow, yet it gives that trance like feel, once again. This is probably one of the most talented instrumentals I've ever heard. A genius composition. I'm impressed, Varg.

A Lost, Forgotten, Sad Spirit - The longest song on the compilation, about 11 minutes long. This song is very calming, through and out, especial emphasis on the ending, which is like the majority of the song, very calming, and relaxing. A very appropriate finale to the album.

In conclusion, this album is a classic; and a definitive milestone in the genre. The display of emotions within this unique work are extravagantly presented in a manner that is seldom achieved by Varg's imitators- this is, in short, a masterpiece of self expression. Certainly worth your money, if my review has persuaded you so.

Updated 12/09