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Dark, ambient, and beautiful - 96%

stickyshooZ, April 28th, 2004

Here we have another master album from one of the kings of black metal: Varg Vikernes. From start to finish, this album is a roller coaster of emotions and raw music. If you look past all of the commotion surrounding Varg, his ideals, and his actions you can feel loads of sensitive emotion in his music. The guitars are heavy as usual, and have this crunchy sound to them. Varg’s raspy screams really add to the atmosphere of the music.

At times you can feel the pain of this man through his blood curdling screams. The bass is there and can be heard quite clearly. The drums aren’t anything mind blowing, but still okay. Varg is more known for his guitar work anyways. The guitar work is a bit primitive at times, but it‘s mobilized effectively and provides enjoyment to the listener.

This album consists of four instrumentals and four songs with Varg singing (two of which are in English). The opening instrumental really gives off the feeling of power. It’s dark and simple, yet enjoyable. It gives good lead way into the next track, “Key to the Gate”. Track two starts off kind of fast and heavy, moving into a more mid paced melodic song.

You get to hear a lot of Varg’s “pain screams”, as I like to call them. The melody in this song is enough to make you feel as if Varg’s inner child is shining on those notes (at least that‘s what it reminds me of). The next song, “En Ring Til Aa Herske,” is a more slow and ambient piece all around. Varg sings, but it’s ambient in it’s own way. This obviously wasn’t a song that was meant to be “dangerous” or anything.

Next we have Lost Wisdom, which is probably my favorite Burzum song. This track is no joke. It’s filled with heaviness, deadly screams, and killer melody. The lyrics sound kind of sad, but it’s still a heavy song. Definitely the best song on the album, I think.

The next track is another ambient piece. It’s all synthesized, and seemingly minimal, but if you listen you can catch some complexities. A good addition to this album indeed, as it sets the mood very well. The next track we have an instrumental song. It starts off nicely, but as the song begins to progress it gets kind of bland.

It’s a pleasure to listen to, but not nearly as strong as the other songs on the album. The next song is a very cool one, and to me this is one of the high points on the album. The guitar melodies are simple, yet brutal and crushing. The song builds up with heaviness and eventually halts to slower pace riffing. Before the song starts to end, it picks up a bit.

Amazing song, and probably my second favorite on the album. The last track is another synthesized instrumental, but it burns with melody and dark atmosphere. Accompanied by noises and some effects, the atmosphere is kept throughout the song. Not a bad final track to end off with. All and all, this is an amazing and vastly overlooked by black metal fans.

If you are a fan of ambient, heavy, and crushing black metal then this album is definitely for you. I’d even go as far to say that it’s essential for black metal fans. I think most BM fans would enjoy it very much. Beautiful album and highly recommended.