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Unfortunately loses its charm - 28%

BlackMetal213, June 5th, 2016

"Dauði Baldrs" was Burzum's first album after Varg Vikernes was imprisoned for the arson of multiple churches and the murder of fellow musician Euronymous. Because he was only allowed limited access to a synth while in jail, he recorded two dark ambient albums, this being the first released in 1997 and the other being "Hliðskjálf" released in 1999. This was actually one of the first albums of Burzum I ever listened to many years ago. Upon my many listens to this album, I really enjoyed it at first. Unfortunately, this has ended up being my least favorite Burzum album and it lost its charm to my ears. There is some good buried in here but its overshadowed by the mediocrity and overall boring and lackluster music.

So this is a purely dark ambient album. There are no guitars, drums, or vocals. This record is completely instrumental. I don't have an issue with instrumental music at all and I even have my own dark ambient/noise music project. In fact, I prefer my ambient music to be instrumental. The issue I have with this is, ironically, how repetitive the music gets. I also enjoy repetitive ambient music, and black metal for that matter. But when you take one single keyboard note and play it over and over for 10 and a half minutes, it tends to get very old very fast and loses its charm. This is exactly the case with "Illa tiðandi". Thing is, the note is actually quite beautiful and sad, if quite simplistic and primitive. Varg would have been able to save the song had he changed it up a few times at least but unfortunately, he does not, and it fades into oblivion. The title track also follows the same exact structure throughout its nearly 9-minute runtime. It's not a bad sound and the notes sound really eerie and dark but they definitely overstay their welcome. The same can be said about "Bálferð Baldrs" which actually takes its main key segment from one of the riffs in "Jesus' Tod" from the "Filosofem" album. Great song but here, it just doesn't work favorably.

I really can't say much more about this album aside from the fact that it really serves no purpose, whatsoever. Sure, it has an interesting musical concept dealing with the story of the Norse god Baldr, acting as a sort of instrumental scripture, but the concept is all it really has going for itself. The music is just bland and uninspired and to this day, I still try to listen to it for the feeling I used to get. I used to really enjoy this but now, I'm sorry to say this record has been spun one time too many. Thankfully, Varg's next album "Hliðskjálf" is quite better and an overall solid ambient album.