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Repetitive, but still has some redeeming qualities - 60%

stickyshooZ, June 29th, 2004

You know those albums by artists you love which are evidencing of the fact that the artist is slipping, and you’re not sure if they’ll be able to balance themselves out again? This is exactly what this album is like for Burzum. This makes me think around the lines of ‘Ouch...err...I don’t know if they’ll be able to recover from this one.’ I wish I could say otherwise, because I love Burzum and the idea of Varg having made a mediocre album doesn’t fascinate me. Never the less, it’s true - this full-fledged keyboards album is rather mediocre.

I don’t mind minimalism at all, because I happen to love the “Hlidskjalf” album; but if you’re going to go down the path of a minimalist, then you need variety! Most of the songs are VERY repetitive and don’t transform or have any interesting direction; it just keeps a basic rhythm pattern and repeats it over and over again. There are some interesting lead key parts thrown in, but UGH, the rhythm rarely changes! Songs like “Balferd Baldrs” keep the same rhythm all the way through, occasionally playing that same rhythm with a different sound...so it’s fairly boring for a six-minute song. The up side to this album is that it’s rather alarming and sometimes even disturbing.

Yeah, the over consistencies may annoy you at times, but the mood is so gloomy and sad that it’s almost creepy. I don’t know anything of the story of Baldrs, but since Varg portrays it as a very melancholic and pessimistic tale, I can imagine the general gist of it. The entire album is in midi form, so it’s rather sloven, tempestuous, and rugged in sound; it’s not clear and tidy like the follow-up of this album. There aren’t that many complexities in the songs, but some are rather intriguing (“Moti Ragnarokum” and “Illa Tidandi” are my personal favorites) with their lonely sound, as if it’s alone in a dark forest and looking for shelter. Good, but yet again, the perpetuity is too much.

I feel that most of the song lengths could easily be cut in half, or a quarter at least and still manage to deliver a powerful performance; because when the listener becomes irritated due to over extensive song length, that’s when you’ve messed up. In all honesty, I would have enjoyed this very much if Varg had either shortened the songs or would have added more variety of elements in his songs; preferably the latter. I get the feeling that Varg tried with this album, but somewhere along the lines he got lost, forgot he’d gotten lost, and decided to declare the album done. This album is highly repetitive, but still okay for an occasional listen...although, don’t get your hopes up too high for something really cool. In my opinion, this isn’t worthy of being called Burzum...but it’s not a complete stain to the name by any means.

The good: creepy atmosphere, decent musicianship.
The bad: too repetitive and drawn out.