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One might think that a band like Burzum would have some amazing demos. Heck, his early albums are raw enough as it is and the production is so minimal that some would argue that they aren’t far from demo quality to begin with. The primitive style of early Burzum works so well with a raw atmosphere that it seems as if it could sound really powerful in an even rawer form. Well, that all works better in theory then it does it practice. Burzum’s first demo is a complete and utter disaster; a god-awful performance and comically bad recording that renders several classic tracks intolerable.
The recording quality is just awful and not in a “raw” or “necro” way, but rather in a “this guy had no idea what he was doing when he recorded this,” way. The sound quality is horrendous. The music constantly fades in and out, increasing and decreasing in volume, sometimes to such a degree that music almost goes silent. There is also a ton of hiss and other interference. Furthermore, the guitars just sound awful. They lack punch and are overly jittery as if the battery on the amp was about to run out of electricity. Furthermore, the demo is totally instrumental, which means there are no vocals to distract us from the abdominal performance. While these are excellent compositions, without Varg's ravaging screams they lack a center point.
The ambient track “Channeling…” fares no better than its metal brethren. There is a highly irritating and constant clicking noise in the background; it’s as if a metronome was accidentally left on while Varg recorded the track. There is also a random burst of distortion that washes out the sound. The keyboard itself doesn’t sound awful, but it is fairly one-dimensional and lacks the girth Burzum's later keyboard recordings have.
There is really no benefit to this demo. The execution is awful and the production is horrendous. This does not create a dark or evil atmosphere or anything of the sort. Time would be better spent listening to the studio versions for a hundredth time than listening to this demo even once.
(Originally written for http://deinos-logos.blogspot.com)