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Last year's Belus was a welcome return for Burzum. It was a fairly decent record, but it lacked something. I found myself listening to Belus only once in a while. Still, it wasn't bad and i was eager to see where Varg Vikernes would go from there. As Vikernes has always done(when he's not been in jail), he has put out another album in the space of exactly 1 year. After multiple listens of the album, I have concluded that this is a much more whole album than Belus. I thought Belus was a collection of old and new riffs Varg had written. It didn't flow together as an album very well. This is where Fallen succeeds.
The album opens with "Fra Verdenstreet", a creepy and short introduction. Then comes "Jeg Faller", one of my favourites on Fallen. The riffs on this song are very catchy, and the chorus showcases Varg's vocal ability. His clean vocals on Fallen were a pleasant surprise. He uses them more often than ever before, and they work well with the music. The chanted chorus to Vanvidd is another good example of this.
On the older Burzum albums, Varg opted for simple but effective riffs. As he's gotten older, i think his playing skills have improved. The guitar tone is distorted and tremolo riffs are abundant. The production as a whole is cleaner than on Belus. The drums, which as always was the case with Burzum, compliment the music well enough and are not overly technical. They are also much more audible than they were on Belus. Some of the basslines on Fallen are pretty decent. The 10 minute long "Budstikken" in particular shines in this aspect.
"Enhver Til Sitt" features a doom-ish melody in the chorus with some harsh spoken vocals over it. In the press release for Fallen, we found out that there was going to be an ambient track on the album. "Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen" is the ambient conclusion; it is different from the ambient tracks on the likes of Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Filosofem, and I was hoping for something like "Tomhet"(off of Hvis Lyset Tar Oss). However, this is very different. Pounding drums, noise, and incoherent whispered vocals are to be found on "Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen" for the first 5 minutes. Then, everything fades away as we are hit by some beautiful guitar notes. Perhaps a bit drawn out, but the conclusion fits the mood of the album and ends it on a sad, sorrowful note.
With Fallen, i think the "new" Burzum style which started from Belus, has reached its peak. Fallen is a more thought-out and finished product than Belus. It will be interesting to see where Vikernes goes from here though. He has long abandoned the black metal that he helped create, but I for one am hoping his next release will step away from the styles of Belus and Fallen and be more unique, as Filosofem was. Perhaps this apparent re-recording of older tracks will get Vikernes in touch with the side of him that produced masterpieces like Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Filosofem.