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A Lot of Input, A Little Output - 80%

Iron Wizard, December 28th, 2015

With a one man band like Burzum, the only member ending up in prison for murder would make one think that the band would be over, but miraculously, this was not the case with Burzum. Varg was able to release two full albums over the course of his sixteen years of imprisonment. The two albums he produced were this album (Daudi Baldrs), and Hiloskjalf. They both consist of only synthetic material.

While Hiloskjalf would be the textbook definition of dark ambient, Daudi Baldrs actually consists of what one could call "synthetic black metal". Compositionally, the music here is black metal. The only difference is that it is synthetic, meaning it is purely synthesizer based.

The opening track, "Daudi Baldrs" is a suspenseful composition. It is fairly well written, and has no real compositional flaws other than a dragging feeling that actually isn't too bad. The use of a cheap horn sound in the place of a rhythm guitar is what makes this song feel a bit off. But Varg was in prison during the recording of this, so he really didn't have access to an extensive array of equipment.

Most of the music on Daudi Baldrs is string based, using horn like sounds to create a dark wall of atmosphere. There are a few deviations from this formula. The second track of the album, "Hermoðr á Helferð" features some plucked string sounds. A few tracks also have bells in them, which serve little purpose other than to make the album seem more complete.

Two songs, "Bálferð Baldrs" and "Illa tiðandi", are actually rerecordings of two Filosofem songs, "Jesus Tod" and "Gebrechlichkeit I", respectively. "Illa tiðandi" is my personal favorite on Daudi Baldrs. It features the same great composition as its Filosofem counterpart, but it is a little less interesting due to the lack of distortion and incoherence. That is what made the songs on Filosofem so special.

Varg Vikernes put forth a great amount of effort when recording Daudi Baldrs. He composed each song quite carefully. He added a few interesting parts to the two rerecordings to make them a bit original, as it would be a bit of a ripoff to release the same material again. Sadly, even with all of this effort put forth, this does not join the ranks of such albums as Filosofem and the debut. Possibly, if the traditional metal setup of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals were used, this could join those ranks. It's not that I have an issue with ambient, it's just that very cheesy sounds were used here. As previously mentioned, cheap horn sounds take the place of a rhythm guitar at some points. The orchestral strings are great sounding at first, but because of their simplicity, they can get a little tiring for the listener.

Other than a few flaws that Varg really had no control over, Daudi Baldrs is a good album. It is just lacking when it is compared to the rest of Burzum's discography.