35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you read the reviews on Amazon you'll notice many people will exaggerate the merits of an album, perhaps even myself occasionaly. However, I make this statement with full conviction: This is one of the most intense records ever made. Not in terms of volume or speed but of sheer, brutal intensity. Varg is by far the most disturbing vocalist and I've ever heard and maybe the best black metal vocalist ever. The instruments are minimal and raw, you won't find any ultra technical drumming or fancy riffing here, yet it is brutal in it's simplicity. Besides less stuff going on in the background leaves more room for Vargs ungodly growls and that isn't a bad thing. I guess this album isn't for everyone. If you have to have your black metal perfectly produced and laden with keyboards, solos, etc. this isn't for you. And some people can't see past the things Varg has done or said. I don't agree with everything he has said or done but this is a review about the music, not the man. Buy this today if you think you can handle it.
52 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
If listened to with the right pair of ears, Burzum's music is very rewarding.
A warning to all metalheads out there: Burzum's music shows almost no merit in the areas of musicianship, songwriting or production. The guitar riffs aren't very technical or original, the song structure is pretty basic and it sounds like it was recorded with a dixie cup and a string attached to a phonograph. Hell, the lyrics aren't even all that good...but these minute details didn't fray the listening experience I had. This is absolute brilliance in musical self-expression.
Some music is sad (Anathema, later Opeth), much is upbeat, other bands try too hard to be shocking or scary, but the one feeling i've never had listening to music is absolute _dread_, and that's exactly what feeling Varg's screams and painful dirges inflict in me. Like i said, it's not technical or very original at all, but something about the way Varg performs his music makes it very appealing to me. He has an AMAZING and authentic black metal voice. I swear when you hear this guy shrieking, it sounds like they've been delivered from the deepest bowels of hell. I think the only way i could scream with such earnest pain and terror is if i was being sodomized with a barbed soldering iron.
The riffs and lyrics aren't _terrible_, but with Varg's delivery, it definitely gets the point across. The bad production actually adds a little charm to the music, similar to punk rock. The bad recording indicates that Varg only cared about writing the songs and performing the best he could with the budget he had, and adds a dark, ethereal atmosphere to the music.
Almost all of us metalheads are pretty open-minded about music in general, but unfortunately Burzum would just not be well-received by most of the underground metal community. Listen intently to some samples, or download some mp3's before buying.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I'm sure if you're fortunate enough to be reading this, you know about the bad choices Varg has made in his life. I have to admit, that's what lured me into actually buying this. I was curious to see if the contraversy was all that attracted people and if it was what caused them to praise Varg's albums. After listening to this for the first time, many years ago, it's safe to say that I was immediately amazed with the music. The soundscapes he creates are magnificently dark and torturous. He plays every instrument on this album, so it's safe to say that all of this music comes from one man's incredible vision. This album, while not as cohesive as "Det Som Engang Var", still remains as my favorite Burzum recording. "My Journey To The Stars" is absolutely beautiful. This man is a musical genius. He paints pictures that take you to shadowy realms you never thought existed. For those of you that find beauty in darkness, take a look at the album cover. Now, to me it is a beautiful picture, but if you don't think so, then maybe it's not for you. If you do, however, perhaps you've come to the right place, because that is the kind of vision that this music gives you. If you've heard the history and are wondering what the music of a tortured artist sounds like, then this is highly recommended. It can be an extremely rewarding experience.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
All perfect terms to describe this album. Burzum's first album (plus Aske ep) would be the type of things many BM bands (many in the US) would later try and copy, However, here is the originial! Varg, has to be one of the greatest BM vocals ever, up there with Ihsahn, Nocturno Culto and Daemon. Sometimes, with "grim" Black Metal, the lyrics can seem forced and cliche, exspecially depending on the vocal delivery of the vocalist. However, with his vocals, he could be singing nursery rhymes and he could still convince you. The guitars, not too hard (never said it had to be the hardest thing to play to be great.) the same story for everything else. Easy t o play or not, the must is still great in my opinion and this is one of the 20 most mandatory Black Metal albums ever recorded. You can just feel the pain and suffering in this album. You almost feel dirty after listening to this. To touch on another subject many others have, yes I think Varg has now become a childish, racist neo-nazi jackass, not to mention a murderer. All of that pushed to the side though, this is still a classic album and influenced many many bands within the genre.
1. Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown (7:28) The cd starts with about two seconds of filthy keyboard notes before going full blast into one of the best songs here. With a simple yet memorable guitar riff going through most of the song, then once Varg kicks in on vocals the song goes to another planet. Great way to kick off an album. 5/5
2. Ea, Lord of the Depths (4:52) "The Head is a Head of a Serpent
From its Nostrils Mucus Trickles...
The Ears Are those of a Basilisk
His Horns Are Twisted into three Curls
The Body is a Sun Fish, Full of Stars
The Base of His Feet Are Claws
His Name Is Sassu Wunnu
A Sea Monster. A Form of Ea"
With lyrics like that, you know you're in for a cold song. This song is spell binding and not one to soon be forgotten. 4.5/5
3. Black Spell of Destruction (5:39) Starts out pretty slow and mellow for a Burzum song, right before the drums kick in a little faster. Then it settles again into a single guitar riff before retuning back to the style played in the intro. Which makes varg's voice all the more haunting. 5/5
4. Channeling the Powers of Souls into a New God (3:27) An almost "beautiful" electronic interlude. Worth giving a few listens, repetitive though.
5. War (2:50) DOn't et the prior song lull you into a sense of security because the next song is like an audio stab to the neck. With the most memorable guitar work on the album, you feel as if you're going to War! The best here. 10/5
6. The Crying Orc (0:58) I'm dissapointed this is only an interlude because the guitar riff used in it was quite good and could have been made into a majestic song. 4/5
7. My Journey to the Stars (8:10) If grim BM isn't your thing this song is going to infuriate you. long and repetitive are good ways to describe this one.The guitar riff is impressive and so is everything in general. One of the best songs here. Mandatory listening here. 5/5
8. Dungeons of Darkness (4:52) Another interlude, stupid and pointless ?/?
9. Stemmen Fra Taarnet (6:09) Well, this song has alot of f*cking attitude! I'll tell you that much. COming in with an almost "grim" punk influenced riff. A really simple song, still good though. Just not the strongest song here. 4/5
10. Dominus Sathans (3:04) Starts out with an eerie and creepy riff. Some strange and low gibberish begins before a classic Varg screech ins unleashed upon your ears. Then the riff g oes on ti'll the song plays out which is pretty pointless. ?/?
11. A LostForgotten Sad Spirit (10:52) Second best here and a classic Burzum track. Longest song on the album. A feeling of being lonely is foundsomewhere between the gritt and filth of this song. 5/5
So, to end this. If you love this style of Black Metal, or want to give it a taste, this is a great place to look. Enjoy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Varg really is a genius. Not a fantastic musician, but considering he plays drums, guitar, bass and does vocals, he does pretty well. As a drummer he's good, I like his style, but he plays kinda sloppy here and you can hear mistakes. As a guitarist, he's not technical or fast, but the way he writes this incredibley simple music is just awesome. The feeling he puts into everything is unparalleled by ANY black metal, even Darkthrone. That being said, Burzum is very Celtic Frost influenced, and incorporates Doom Metal into his music. The production is great, you can hear everything ace, except for the bass. One thing I haven't mentioned is the vocals, which are the most original vocals ever. They are unlike anything. Varg screeches and screams with so much feeling.
A couple of songs are fillers, but this album is still damn excellent. I like the way some of the songs are catchy aggressive and beautiful in different spots in each song. Overall the song quality os excellent and almost every song is great. You have to get this cd, black metal fan or doom metal fan.
Highlights would be Spell of Destruction, War, Crying Orc and My Journey to the Stars. Highly recommended along with all the other Burzum releases.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Great album. Although I do like to attribute Mr. Vikernes' screams to his bursting of a hemorrhoid. Just think about that and you'll laugh every time.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Let me say that I'm a big fan of Mayhem (Dead especially) and I'm pissed that Grishnackh killed Euronymous but I'm reviewing the album and not the person behind it. Burzum/Aske is one of the most disturbing, powerful and scary albums I've ever heard in my life and I've listened to the likes of early-Bathory, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor, Dark Funeral and Satyricon. Technically speaking the instruments are not played that good but they still manage to sound evil and primitive. Count Grishnackh's voice is just plain sick (in a good way). I'd put his voice in the top 5 best Black Metal voices with Dead being the best along with Quorthon, Nocturno Culto and Ihsahn.
To best describe Count Grishnackh's voice is like this loud pain-filled shriek and sounds like a madman was let loose from the asylum. It's a shame the Count did what he did because I don't believe it's a coincidence that Black Metal slowly decayed after Euronymous' death. Emperor and Darkthrone made some great albums after his death but BM music in general was never the same and the genre has suffered since. If Euronymous had still been alive and the Count not so jealous they would have carried BM to serious heights. Oh yeah, the ecclesiastical arson (church burning) wasn't cool either. The music's good though.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Another pure masterpiece from Varg. Burzum has managed to re-define the way people listen to and approach black metal. Most of this album is beyond classification. Varg works on moods and ambiance, the instruments that help him achieve that are almost incidental. Burzum has proved that music can be dark and crushing without having a drummer pound out 500 beats per minute. This album is bound to be an influence on others. I've heard an amazing cross-section of people listening to this album. Gothic freaks, Skinheads and even punk rockers as well as traditional metal heads. Something about Burzum's music speaks to people. Like him or not, his music and actions have helped define the metal scene and underground music culture in general.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Burzum's debut album definitely left an ugly mark (in a good way) on the black metal scene, as its primal fury still resonates through bands like Blut Aus Nord, Xasthur, and Leviathan today. By far, it's one of the most influential records to come out of the early 90's metal scene, but it isn;t quite Varg's best. His playing abilities are a bit questionable here, his vocals are in the embryo stage, and a flat production provides minimal atmosphere. In spite of these faults, Varg manages to pull through and forge a new type of dreadful, emotional, and unnerving black metal.
This album's raw production is the first thing the listener will notice. The garage drum sound, basic guitar overdrive, and makeshift production don't give this album the oppressive atmosphere of following albums. However, the rawness of the sound enhances the sheer emotion in songs like the long-winded opener "Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown", the short but sweet "War", and the epic "My Journey to the Stars". These songs convince the listener that Varg was dead serious with his creation. His wailing vocals were, and still are, unlike anything heard in black metal today. They are filled with pain, hatred, and agony, and would get even better on the next few albums. The drums are bare-boned, and the drum sound itslef is quite, well.. punkish, in a good way. Varg does a competent job on most of the songs, but there is a bit of sloppiness here and there, though it helps to enhance the atmosphere.
The best tracks here are definitely "Spell of Destruction", which would be covered by a million different bands, and the classic multi-faceted epic "My Journey to the Stars", which features some beautiful leads. "Channeling the Power of Souls Into a New God" is a relaxing, atmopsheric, and minimalistic synth track to relax the listener.
The Aske EP is only OK. It has a problem of being a bit too repetitive, and the lack of variety in the drums just makes it uninteresting. ("A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit" is almost painful to sit through.) But overall, this album's influence beats out its flaws. Reccommended to fans of old-school dirty black metal. For starters, check out "Det Som Engang Var".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The purest of TRUE Black Metal. If you love angry, hateful,
screaming in pain evil metal, then obtain this album!