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Excellent debut. - 92%

vintermark, March 11th, 2005

This is the most Black Metal sounding album in the Burzum catalogue.

Like most Black Metal that existed at the time 'Burzum/Aske' is made up of simple patterns which eventually evolve to something larger and extremely coherant. Percussion is in the style of Hellhammer, often rising to the level of what a lot may call 'noise'.

The blend of guitars, drums and Varg's screaming vocals can often suffocate the ears with a tremendous level of what, at first appears, as un-clear, feral 'noise', the music, however, is dissectable, just like a lot of Black Metal.

The purpose of the album seems to be a fantasy world that is both 'good' and 'bad'. The world created, at first, seems grossly dark and morbid. Yet the fantasy world can be turned on it's head to form a world where one has to have wits and will to survive, instead of the modern world, where evolution is denied and there is a constant, sickening light. This plays into the duality of the name of Burzum.

The simple guitar patterns and repetition almost lull the listener into some form of light hypnosis, and the screeching vocals become almost clear, this allowing the listener to be drawn into the world, away from the light.Tempos and music change from slow and audible to fast and blurry, rushing past the different landscapes of the created fantasy land.

The work is very much a showcase for the potential of ambient metal where it uses mostly barely modified simple power-chords, a rebellion against the structured fit-in-a-box metal of before, including metal that was also later re-classified as Black Metal.

Vocals are actually remarkable once you get past the difficulty of listening to the screech (some people actually take time with these vocals and are still dead-set against them, personally I quite enjoy them). Rather than being 'a bit where the musician makes a noise with his mouth' the vocals accentuate the guitar parts excellently, as if they are driving the music at some points. This almost adds an entire new dimension to the vocals.

As with all Burzum releases, this album is not exempt from keyboard work either (Channeling the Power of Souls into a New God). The keyboard work is nothing like what was released on Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Filosofem, it does, however, have the same dream-like melody which continues the 'hypnosis' already created by the previous songs.