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Ancient curiosity turned into sanitary obsession - 0%

Linus Edenwall, November 29th, 2011

You would think that a compilation of exceptionally good songs (some of them are among the most mesmerizing in metal history) would not alter much in their essential quality even when re-recorded with the basest intentions. I was wrong.

The track "My Journey to the Stars" is case in point. Originally this is a song whose compositional imagination always gobsmacked me. The riffs held the logic of the song in one piece yet shifted in emotion with such dramatic impact that it made the listening experience chillingly "unsafe". It was as though the greatest horrors of life were played out in a world that made them make sense and suddenly... life had new meaning.

After hearing the version on From the Depths of Darkness, however, I have come to understand that you also need a profound understanding of the subtleties in the song in order for all that magic to reveal itself when actually played. Back in 1992, Burzum seemed to have a communicative intention behind every single note played and knew how to achieve the desired effect. The single bass notes, for example, were treated like heavy droplets of significance and Burzum never feared to let them linger.

On FtDoD, all nuances have been run over. The tempo of the music has been flattened to a dull medium, every note has been given an equal value as though they cannot be trusted, and the harmonic distance between instruments is smothered into a lukewarm glob. The adventurous storytelling that was Burzum and Det som engang var is now turned into a mere texture, a bland stream of monotonous rock 'n' roll. Experiencing Burzum's old recordings was like discovering every dark corner of a cavernous ancient stronghold. With these re-recordings, Burzum has brushed itself off of all dangers, any sharp points have been sawed off and we’re left in a place which is clean, safe and very, very boring.

Ultimately, FtDoD is worthless as art and an indication that its creator has (at least at this point in time) lost touch with what motivated the original compositions.