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The vocals is what kills it - 57%

Scarred_Soul, March 29th, 2005

I like a lot of the so called tr00 bands but I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and rave about this album. I really don’t understand the great popularity. I fail to get sucked into Varg’s world. I do like Burzums later releases though. Filosofem anyone? But yet I just find this S/T fairly dull except for a few points.

This is the most straightforward black metal put forth by Varg. Varg made the right move into transferring his style involving much more keyboard work as he manages to create a much greater atmosphere.

The same guitar riffs are played over and over again but instead of putting me into a trance as much of this style does it just bores the hell out of me especially in Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown and Ea, Lord of the Depths. I get hardly any sense of dark atmosphere that many people seem to find. Ea, Lord of the depths opens up with an almost happy riff that sounds like it would be in some oldskool videogame such as Golden Axe. In fact I think it may well have been. This riff is then dropped into a much more boring one which is a pity cause it started out better.

The guitars are played a little on the sloppy side at times and the vocals sound like almost any bloke off the street could have performed them, just random screams over and over again. It is really nothing special. It could drive almost anyone to insanity or even worse, suicide (or maybe insanity is worse, it’s your call). I do like some suicidal metal such as Silencer (Swe) or Abyssic Hate’s Suicidal Emotions. The difference is with those bands, is that they manage to create some great atmosphere so there is the possibility of getting sucked into their world, and with Burzum that is mostly not the case.

The vocals seem to greatly suck on My Journey Into The Stars, which otherwise is an incredible track as it is quicker in pace and much better riffing. The guitars here actually sound really grim and atmospheric, but as I said before the vocals ruin the track. The same goes for The Black Spells Of Destruction which is quite possibly the most covered song in black metal, including covers by the likes of Beatrik and Nargaroth. In fact I have a compilation devoted entirely to covers of this one song. My favourite track on this album would be The Crying Orc, simply because it is an instrumental and doesn’t feature Varg’s horrible screams.

How other people can decipher Varg’s lyrics from his vocals is beyond me. If I listen really hard I can sometimes make a word out here and there but to do that I have to use all my attention and divert it from everything else but I don’t listen to black metal for the lyrics in the first place so this does not bother me.

I don’t totally hate this album, it has some nice riffing in here but Varg doesn’t quite manage to capture that atmosphere that he does with his later works. If the vocals were better then this album would be a fair bit better but still nothing spectacular, but as it stands this is fairly mediocre. I recommend listening to some of Burzum’s later works such as Aske and Filosofem instead as he began to find his potential.