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An Echo of Capability - 70%

Morbe, April 17th, 2018

Burzum’s debut echoed what was to come of the Burzum project. I find it hard to believe that all of the first four albums were written (presumably) and recorded in such a short amount of time. In barely two years Varg had managed to not only write some of the most defining and memorable songs of the genre, but helped influence many artists to follow in the black metal footsteps with experimentalism and a mix and blend of what would soon be called “Dungeon Synth” and elements of dark ambient.

This album consists primarily of songs composed like old style heavy metal songs, with a fuzzy distortion and screamed vocals. Which was to be expected from an up-and-coming black metal artist in Norway in the 90’s; however; the idea that this album, and an album like Filosofem could be recorded so close together is incredible, as this album shows the incorporation of dissonance and distortion, but lacks the overbearing volume and general composition typical of an album like Filosofem, where the guitars dissonance often blends together. Repetition is present on some of the tracks, again to a lesser extent. All of which echoed what to come of the Burzum project.

Two examples of more “heavy metal” style riffing on the album are on “War”, and “Stemmen Fra Tårnet”. Where there is little dissonance in the chords chosen to write the main riffs, and the drums have a sort of “Iron Maiden” feel to me. Besides that, I think the album is a wonderful composition of the previous demos that led up to the point, he clearly worked on his playing ability and composition throughout the years leading up to the debut.

Overall I give I think the album deserves a 70%. It is telling of the future of the project but outside of that it seems like a proof of concept in very mild experimentation, high pitched harsh vocals, distorted guitars, and slower beats than what was typical of death metal at the time.