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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A few things you should know about 'Belus'
Interesting how things change. 'Burzum' (meaning 'the darkness') has released an album dedicated to Belus, the Indo-European deity of light. Far from being contradictory, however, Varg's opposition to Judeo-Christianity hasn't wavered a bit - just his conception of where he stands in relation to it. Originally he thought of himself as a force of darkness, but now he sees...
Published on March 21, 2010

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad..Not great
i think people are hyping this album up a bit too much, i have found a time and place to enjoy this album but all in all its just another decent black metal album with the all too like muffled guitars and drumkit sounding like its under 1000 pounds of blankets, for some reason i was kinda excited to hear what varg had come up with over the years and perhaps i was...
Published on April 23, 2010 by Nate


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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A few things you should know about 'Belus', March 21, 2010
This review is from: Belus (MP3 Music)
Interesting how things change. 'Burzum' (meaning 'the darkness') has released an album dedicated to Belus, the Indo-European deity of light. Far from being contradictory, however, Varg's opposition to Judeo-Christianity hasn't wavered a bit - just his conception of where he stands in relation to it. Originally he thought of himself as a force of darkness, but now he sees Judeo-Christianity itself as the darkness, and so opposes it with a force of light.

The music itself is both dark and bright, sunlight and shadow. On one track the guitars form a cold pre-dawn mist, on another they dance like a rainbow on a waterfall.

'Belus' Død' is a powerful and older piece, dating back to the time of 'Filosofem', and indeed its opening riff was also used in a less powerful way on 'Dauði Baldrs'. Now, played on guitar, it sounds truly overwhelming. On the other hand, 'Sverddans' ('Sword Dance') features music Varg wrote when he was sixteen, sounding like raw death metal à la Darkthrone's 'Goatlord', and this doesn't fit in very well with the other pieces.

More recent compositions like 'Glemselens Elv' ('The River of Forgetfulness'), 'Keliohesten' ('The Horse of Kelio') and 'Morgenrøde' ('Dawn') are strong, hypnotic, shimmering and deeply beautiful.

The lyrics, now translated into English and other languages on the Burzum website, are excellent.

While 'Belus' isn't as good as Varg's masterpiece 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss', it stands alongside his other albums and is musically perhaps most similar to 'Filosofem'. It's good to see Varg out in the 'world' again, continuing his artistic mission and offending so many repressed, politically correct idiots by his mere existence. 'Belus' is an album I will listen to many times in the future.

Welcome back...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich Storytelling, April 2, 2010
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This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
Belus is a "musical and lyrical description of the the White God (alias Apollon, Baldr, Belenus, Belus, Bragi, Byelobog, Jarilo, et cetera) and the annual events of his life." according to Varg Vikernes. The entire album tells the story of Belus through words and music.

Comparisons to previous Burzum albums are inevitable I suppose, but not really all that relevant. Artists are people and evolve over time. The most you can hope for is for an artist to stay true to what made them great in the first place, and I believe Belus shows that Varg has remained very true. He has progressed immensely as an instrumentalist and vocalist, and matured as a songwriter. If the goal of an artist is self-expression than I think Varg succeeds tremendously. I experience very strong, subtle, diverse emotions listening to Burzum, and not just the one-dimensional moods of most metal music.

Belus is a long-form work. The goal here is not to blast you with impressive feats of virtuosity or complexity; the goal is to tell a tale with words and music. This is a very meditative album and may take several listens to get the meaning of. I recommend reading the lyrics as well, which can be found in many languages at [...].

The production is much cleaner than previous albums in many ways, but also somewhat muted sounding. It almost sounds muddy to me at times, but closer listening reveals many many layers going on. The vocals are very different from previous Burzum vocals. Much more controlled, but also much quieter in the mix. I really really loved Varg's old vocal style, but the new style does work better for storytelling. It is still a strong, harsh voice, but much less like a soul experiencing total anguish. There is even a good amount of sub bass on this album!

Here's a run through of the songs:
1. The Intrigues of Leuke (Introduction)
A simple intro...just the sound of a hammer beating metal, implying the secretive work of Leuke, who kills Belus.

2. The Death of Belus
This song begins with a familiar melody from Daudi Baldrs. Great catchy riffs that set the tone for everything to come. Leuke murders Belus. A great sense of danger and adventure. Be sure to read the lyrics!

3. The River of Forgetfulness
An excellent song describing the funeral(?) of Belus. This song gets stuck in my head for days! Such a mixture of majesty and sorrow in this song. The lyrics are very meaningful as Belus begins the journey to the underworld, while promising to return.

4. The Descent of Kaimadalthas
This song ups the intensity quite a bit. The tale of Belus's travels in the land of the dead. A great sense of adventure. The spoken parts are very evocative.

5. Sword Dance
The battle between Belus and the winter spirit. This is battle music! Winter spirit, you shall die! This is the most intense song of the album because it is the battle between summer and winter!

6. The Horse of Kelio
The aftermath of the battle. The spirit of winter has been defeated, but the feeling of intensity lingers as the world recovers.

7. Dawn
The first Sunday of spring. A strong feeling of reverence and power, and yet sorrow perhaps for what has happened. This song amazes me with it's complexity and subtlety of emotions.

8. The Return of Belus (Conclusion)
This is an instrumental song that invites reflection on the tale of Belus. It is very long and meditative and completes the mood of the album very well. I think of cycles of the seasons, the promise of spring is also the promise of autumn. Opposites dancing around each other for eternity.

It is entirely possible I have just butchered the tale of Belus due to my ignorance of the story. I knew nothing of it before this album, but now I am much more interested in learning the rest. This album has come to be very meaningful to me as spring is now arriving and world comes alive. As I walk down my street I look into the giant oak trees and see that little bit of mistletoe and think of Belus....
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad..Not great, April 23, 2010
By 
Nate (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
i think people are hyping this album up a bit too much, i have found a time and place to enjoy this album but all in all its just another decent black metal album with the all too like muffled guitars and drumkit sounding like its under 1000 pounds of blankets, for some reason i was kinda excited to hear what varg had come up with over the years and perhaps i was expecting more, i see some people breaking the songs down as if there sum intricate piece of music but the riffs and drums on this album are really just pretty basic and typical metal riffs..ill end my rant here.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumphant and Welcome Return, March 9, 2010
By 
Old T.B. (Cheyenne, Wy USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Belus (MP3 Music)
It has been eleven years since the release of the last Burzum album, the electronic Hlidskjalf, and fourteen since the last "metal" Burzum album, the incredible Filosofem. Now, Belus is available, and my world is better for it.

At the risk of lapsing into superlatives, Belus is an amazing piece of music, full of drive and power, with no weak tracks. Productionwise, Belus is one of the cleanest sounding Burzum albums, though production is the last thing on my mind regarding Burzum music. I believe that "Glemselens Elv" and "Morgenroede" are two of the most majestic sounding songs in the Burzum catalog. Some of Varg Vikernes' vocals on Belus will flash fans back to the early albums, but there are some changes, as well. For example, "Glemselens Elv" has some chantlike vocals, "Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning" and "Morgenroede" have spoken parts, and "Sverddans" has a deeper, more gutteral style. Regardless of any variations from past albums, this music is unquestionably, inimitably Burzum. Mr. Vikernes has lost none of his musical genius.

I will admit that I would have liked the addition of one or two ambient pieces, but that is my preference, not a complaint. Also, if one downloads Belus, you get some unwelcome breaks in the music. Still, I am glad I downloaded it; I'll just have to purchase an import copy later on.

It may be early to write this, but I'll do it: I think that Belus ranks among the best of Varg Vikernes' work, with Filosofem and Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. Most highly recommended. Essential.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIVED UP TO MY EXPECTATIONS, April 1, 2010
By 
the Citizen "STEPHEN" (EDWARDSBURG, MICHIGAN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
ACTUALLY, LIVED UP IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. I FIGURED AFTER ALL THIS TIME. THE BURZUM SOUND MIGHT CHANGE AND I MAY NOT CARE FOR IT. HOW WRONG I WAS. WHENVER I HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS IN LIFE THEY ARE ALWAYS LET DOWN.ONE EXPECTION THE NEW BURZUM CD.
BELUS HAS THE SOUND I LOVE. THE IMPENDING DOOM AND EVERTHING COMING TO AN END FEELING. THIS IS REALLY A GREAT CD. I WILL NOT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS BURZUM CDS AS THAT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME.WHILE I GET BORED SO EASY WHEN IT COMES TO MUSIC.
BURZUM IS THE EXEPTION.(ALSO ASPHYX, PESTILENCE,EYEHATEGOD).THE SOUND ON THIS CD REMINDS ME OF AN AFTERNOON VERY VERY DARK CLOUDS, TORNADO WARNINGS ON TV, AND YOU ASK YOURSELF, "COULD THIS BE MY LAST DAY ON EARTH."(ALIVE)

S
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trying my best to avoid worshipping at the altar of Burzum, June 9, 2010
By 
B. Meyer (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
Every review I read seems to lack any objectivity and concentrates more on "Varg is a madman so his album must be terrible" type lines of thought. I'll do my best to not follow that, nor praise the man as some sort of cult hero.

The first time I listened to the album I wasn't at all impressed. To the contrary I didn't like it at all. I've now gone through a few times and it's growing on me. This is exactly what happened with Filsofem (arguably the blueprint for the black metal genre for a good decade upon its release) however I don't think Belus will ever achieve the status of Filosofem. Like previous Burzum work, there isn't a single song that stands out as the album is considered to be a piece in and of itself. I now find myself somewhat spellbound listening to the album and my dog is happy that she gets to go on some absurdly long walks so I can listen to Belus the whole way through.

Musically, there isn't much growth or evidence of new talent found in the work. Varg plays his way and if you're not a fan you simply won't enjoy any of it. Guitars are thin sounding and concentrate on arpeggiated chord structures more than fancy single note lines, the bass isn't terribly bassy and the drumming is simple and subdued. What is presented is to be consumed as a whole, not to be over analyzed on any single instrument. It is not meant to be an exhibition of skill (let's admit it, the guy isn't exactly a genius on guitar or any other instrument), it is meant to be a statement and a force of will.

So, the good:
Burzum returns to form after a prolonged absence
Belus "captures the moment" - hard to explain, but listen to it while you're just out walking around and let it sink in as opposed to listening with an overly critical ear
When it's at its best, Belus is very hypnotic and beautiful

the bad:
Burzum returns to form after a prolonged absence (depends on if you're a fan or not I suppose)
Standard crummy black metal production value
aimless at times
It's no Filosofem, and I was really hoping that this album would hit me with an iron gauntlet and present itself as the greatest thing since (insert great thing here)

Whatever you preconceived notions you have about the man, his art is a statement that is hard to ignore.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belus, April 27, 2010
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This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
I've read a lot of so-so reviews but I find this album to be no disappointment. Another emotional, dark, trance-inducing, hauntingly beautiful journey from the mind and heart of a very unusual individual. Thanks Varg.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burzum is back, April 8, 2010
By 
atfield "atfield" (At the south of Peru) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
Master Vikernes did it again. This album is a masterpiece and a great evolution, different voice, great music and cool lyrics. To resume... Is perfect
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burzum go back to bludgeoning basics, July 31, 2012
This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
Ok so, yeah yeah, we all know the deal with Burzum's "Belus," and the dark and disturbing controversy that surrounds it. The band is fronted by (well, actually, it really is a one-man project of) Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes, a church-burning Satan-worshipper who, after being convicted of cold-blooded murder, served what is arguably considered hardly a fair amount of time behind bars. (See, in 1993, after playing alongside him in the iconic Norwegian black metal group Mayhem, Varg heartlessly stabbed his rival, guitarist Oystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, to death. He would go on to be convicted of this crime and serve time in prison, but was paroled after only sixteen years.) So that, right there, makes this band and this record very odious. But what's more is that Vikernes has admitted (proud even) roots in white-supremacies. And this is reportedly a concept album which explores deep-seeded racist views (it was originally to be entitled "Den Hvite Guden" -- the English translation of which means "The White God.") Add to all of this "Belus"'s horribly sparse, low-fi, paper thin, and cheap-sounding production job, and you get a background that not release should have to go up against. Thus, it is only natural to come to the premature conclusion that this is a terrible, horrible, no good, god-awful album!

But it isn't. Far from it -- in fact, it is actually quite amazing! Lean, mean, and corrosive as gasoline, "Belus" is a return to brutal form for Burzum, who experimented with two releases, "Dauoi Baldrs" and "Hlioskjalf" (both of which were recorded while Varg was in prison), that were both really more dark ambient albums than they were true black metal. But chockablock full of vitriolic, biting guitar riffs, brutal drumming, larynx-lacerating screeches, and only occasionally-used, unsettling melodies, this effort sees the band's bludgeoning blackened roots again shifting back to the forefront. And song-wise, this eight-piece set is very good, and impeccably consistent. Plus, perhaps most impressively, it actually contains tracks that can be distinguished from one another. "Leukes Renkespill (Leuke's Plot)," an eerily dark and portentous, thirty-second-long introductory piece, sets the tone well with its ominous percussion that sounds like a stick beating a steel drum or a tin coffee can. The titular "Belus Dod (Belus' Death)" succeeds this, and it really gets the ball rolling. Aside from a creepy little intro melody that evokes the above-named "Dauoi Baldrs," this number is all abrasively catchy, gnawing, buzzsaw riffing, deceptively simplistic, death `n' roll drum beats, and classic black metal vocals. (It is essentially six-and-a-half minutes of Varg's throaty, skin-crawling, frog-throated gargles echoing and cascading on top of one almost trance-inducing riff repeated over and over.)

And the heck of it all is, "Belus" has staying power. "Glemselens Elv (River Of Forgetfulness)" sees to this, as it is an epically epic, and terrifically expansive and mournful 12-minute-long dirge that finds Burzum achieving new heights of musical prowess. It is full of snaky, sinewy, spider webs of repetitive, high-strung guitar melodies (excellent, soaring melodic leads loom overhead), grim harmonies, and a few ominous, mood-enhancing, visceral and growly -- yet simultaneously kind of quiet and whispered -- spoken word vocals. Track four, "Kaimadalthas Nedstigning (Kaimadalthas' Descent)," which is backed by propulsive, breakneck, sparks-spitting chainsaw riffage, thudding, thundering blast beats, and creepy, dark-as-heck, Venom/Bathory-esque rasps, offsets and contrasts "Glemselens" in a big way. Sure, some solid melodies do enter the fray when the tune adopts the occasional slow, doomy breakdown - but it is first and foremost brutal black metal, no doubt. Another one of the more viscerally satisfying cuts on hand, here, "Sverddans (Sword Dance)," draws influence heavily from speed and thrash metal. It features a chunky, staccato, Slayer/Kreator-inspired thrashy main riff, impeccable double-time drumming, and memorable vocal patterns. Some unorthodox, off-the-rails -- yet kind of melodic -- guitar soloing is included on the side, for good measure, as well.

The mostly instrumental "Keliohesten (The Kelio Horse)" has an epic scope. It effortlessly switches back and forth between darkly doomy territory and up-tempo, galloping -- and strangely hummable -- tremolo picking reminiscent of "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"-era Mayhem. And Varg's bass also chips in with a steady, humming bass bottom. "Morgenrode (Dawn)" is an interlude-type song (albeit and eight minute-long one) with heavy, sludgy, churning riffs and moaning, groaning feedback. The distortion level is so thick, here, that the listener barely hears any individual notes, just a wall of fuzzed-out sound. "Morgenrode" is also of note for its use of mesmerizing, siren-like guitar melodies. Finally, "Belus' Tilbakekomst (Konklusjon) (Belus' Return/Conclusion)" is a terrifically trippy, entrancing, and contemplative outro with ringing, echoing guitar chords and foreboding feedback so repetitious, it actually plays more like darkly ambient, stoner/shoe-gazing metal than anything else.

Again, "Belus" is an album that practically screams out for you to hate it. You almost need to hate it for your own peace of mind. Yet it has a lot of musical attributes that simply cannot be ignored. Approaching its 20-year anniversary of being a band, and with its first album in nearly eleven years, Burzum proves that it is still at its artistic peak, and fully capable of producing some of the best brutal black metal on the market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a step back.., March 15, 2010
This review is from: Belus (Audio CD)
varg's in his rock star comfort zone with Belus and he plays it safe. we dont see him 'going the extra mile' to make that album a logical black metal successor to the mighty Filosofem.
i keep hearing many tunes off previous albums played with different speed and note spacing on Belus. track 2 is (as another reviewer also mentioned) has a daudi baldrs melody but most notably the closing track that sounds very much like a downtuned 'det som engang var'.
the album intro has got be one of the most retarded intros i've ever heard; it sounds like a bouncing ping pong ball that goes on for 35 seconds before the guitars wash in from the second track. absolutely no connection to be found between that 'intro' and the following track. i also dont get how the intro helps establishing Baldr's concept. if this was an attempt to 'convey'
the sound of a hammer falling, it's beyond lame.

soundwise, the production and varg's vocals are the album's strong points. it's a shame that underneath, a lot of substance is missing, a lot of familiar tunes are heard and the whole venture reeks of compromise. a word i thought was antipodal to everything Varg. he even compromised on the original album name for fear of more racism-based attacks on him. but i'm in no way rating his attitude: people change and that's a fact. i was only expecting his music to mature after the prison years but on Belus i only hear rehashing nostalgia and conformity.

this is not even in the same league with Filosofem, Det som engang var or Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, burzum's unholy trinity.
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Belus
Belus by Burzum (Audio CD - 2011)
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