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What once was... - 99%

Dark_Identity, November 28th, 2004

Ah, Det Som En Gang Var, an album most fans of Norwegian Black Metal are not without. This album may have sold more copies from Varg's infamous church burnings and the killing of Euronymous than for the musical value. With that aside, I bought this album not for the music of a deranged killer, but for the music of one of Black Metal's patron saints, so to speak.

The cover of this album alone would make one wonder what kind of music was inside the digipack it is sold in these days. A nice illustration sets the mood for "true" black metal with a side of depression and agony that only Burzum seems to offer. The first intro track pulls you into the mind of Varg Vikernes as you prepare for the double bass guitar attack that most black metal has after it's intro. The next track, Key to the Gate is of course exactly what most would anticipate. For the first few minutes, it is a pretty typical black metal track with Varg's somewhat annoying vocals. A ways through it slows down a bit and is what I find to be one of the most defining parts of the album. This song made this album one of my favorites, as it shows Varg's more musical side.

Moving on, En Ring Til Aa Herske follows a similar pattern to the track before it. Alot of heavy black metal with moments of slower depressing guitars. These are the most memorable portions of the album, but it doesn't go down- hill in the least bit from there. All of the Norwegian-titled tracks seem to be the best, especially Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn.

The 1% of criticism I have on this album is Varg's vocals. Many say that his despair-filled voice adds emotion and a unique feel. I would agree with this if I did not think that it was just an excuse. The people that say Varg's vocals are some of the best in black metal, are wrong. It sounds like he's getting his penis caught in a slamming door. Because of the outstanding musical output on this album, I am willing to overlook the vocals.