Burzum
Belus

“If I can make you dream when listening to this album, I believe I have done a good job,” says Kristian. The music can best be compared to… Hvis Lyset tar Oss and Filosofem, so says the press release. I can forgive a lot of things, not much bothers me, but burning a stave church that predated the christians in Scandinavia I can’t forgive. An architect friend of mine went on a tour of all the stave churches in Norway just a week after Fantoft was burned and he brought back some charred wood. He was horrified when I told him the arsonist had been released. The idiot could have burned down many modern churches without attracting so much attention. Burzum is one of the few bands out there where it is impossible to separate the politics.

You could argue his music is awful uninspired drivel and you would be dead wrong, at least as far as his pre-conversion days, “some of the best black metal ever created,” and I’d agree, but post-conversion is another matter, and no matter what this album actually sounds like this album is bought for one of three reasons. 1. Varg is my idol, I wish I was as evil as him, in which case you have already ordered your copy. 2. Burzum is the very definition of true kult, I wish I had burned a priceless pagan church, murdered my friend and converted to Nazism, in which case you have already ordered you copy on vinyl. 3. Burzum is that overhyped one man project from Norway that produced three excellent albums and then got himself incarcerated for some reason, Norwegian Charles Manson or some such, and now he is out of prison so I am hoping for a return to form of pre-incarceration styled black metal, in which case you’ve probably already set the money aside to buy the album when it shows up at your local store.

It’s impossible for him to tarnish his image any more so it matters little if he continues to release ambient drone albums or he really comes through with his promised return to early black metal. What of the music of Belus though, for those out there not buying the disc automatically? Personally I can’t put the ipod on shuffle, have a Burzum song pre 1995 come up and not know it instantly, yes the first three discs are on the ipod permanently, and with Belus the initial immediate reaction is “that’s a Burzum song,” definitely identifiable as Burzum, quite readily so, and I won’t say the magic is gone, mush as I’d like to. There are a plethora of inspired moments but no inspiring ones. That is to say he has written some cool passages, he was inspired at the time of composition, but none of it inspires me.

It is definitely guitar driven, not keyboard, I thought he didn’t approve of stringed instruments anymore. The vocals are not the tortured wail. The dreamy distant clean vocals, NSBM pagan styled, if you will, are effective on “Glemselens Elv”. The blackened screams on “Kaimadalthas’ Nedstigning” are just not like the old days. There are also many spoken phrases and the dominate vocal style is the clean one. This song is also more keyboard centric. “Sverddans” is short and speedy with a happy bounce to the guitars and “Keliohesten” has a consistently harsh vocal style, buzz guitars and blastbeats, with an emphasis on rhythmic patterns. “Morgenrøde” drones on for nearly nine minutes. The idea was expressed in the first thirty seconds and the point was taken by four minutes. The nine minute concluding track, “Belus’ Tilbakekomst (Konklusjon),” takes up the above idea and extends it out on a parallel tangent. Bare bones guitar, minimal vocals, but not trance inducing drone. Instead it just fades into the background of my dreams, which sadly are unrelated to Belus, or Burzum.

Why rush this album out so soon after prison release? Take the time to do it right. It’s not like he was about to fade into obscurity off on some farm in the mountains north of Bergen. I will not call it ‘most disappointing’ or ‘worst of the year’ or any such thing because it is not bad and it does not disappoint because I had no expectations for it not to meet. I had already written off new Burzum as irrelevant. In all honesty come year end this album will just be forgotten. Not memorable is the tag. Varg says, “my ambition with Belus is to create something …[to] listen to for years without ever growing tired of it.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Her er eventyret ute. It is time for Kristian to settle down and raise a Nazi family of his own, and to pick up Norske Folke Eventyr for a re-read.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
March 22nd, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    “Varg says, “my ambition with Belus is to create something …[to] listen to for years without ever growing tired of it.” too bad Varg, I was bored even during the first listen.

    as I stated in a review last month, if you are looking for something that captures the old Burzum magic, check out Midnight Odyssey – Firmament instead.

    good write-up Grim, agreed 100%.


  2. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Only 3 classics from Varg ? Are you not a fan of the self titled debut or Aske ?? They had some filler, but the amazing moments far outweighed them .


  3. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    It’s not the best album he’s ever done, but I am more than happy with it. I NEVER thought we would get a new ‘metal’ Burzum album, let alone one that is half as good as Belus.

    Also, Varg has said many times now that numerous songs on Belus were written before his prison term began, and he wanted to finally release them. With that in mind, I don’t think the album was ‘rushed’. He already had most of it written, so all he had to do was record it and release it.

    His next album is probably where we will get the best idea of where his songwriting is nowadays.


  4. Commented by: JHDOOM

    Ah, Grimfluffer, I’m afraid I must disagree…


  5. Commented by: Grimulfr

    the three classics I refer two are actually four releases but I lump the ep with the s/t since that is the version most people would have, thus…
    Burzum /Aske
    Det Som Engang Var
    Hvis Lyset Tar Oss


  6. Commented by: Biff Tannen

    You don’t conside Filosofem a classic Burzum album ?? I thought that was agreed upon throughout the farthest realms of the metal kingdom !! To each his own, I suppose!


  7. Commented by: drowningincorn

    My initial impressions of the album weren’t so great, but once I sat down with headphones and had some time to relax with it I really enjoy the album. Not every track is a classic, but the album has that undeniable ability of Burzum music to trance out and take you somewhere else. The last twenty minutes of the album doesn’t do much, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a beautiful patience in his music I appreciate. The one thing this album does is remind me of my age. It seems another world ago when I remember wondering if “the Black Circle” would stab Varg when he was released and how serious all the bands making death threats against him were. Ah, youth…


  8. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yeah I’m with you Biff, my favorite Burzum albums, in order:

    Filosofem
    Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
    Det Som Engang Var
    Burzum/Aske
    Belus
    Casio Dwarf Shit Music Made in Prison


  9. Commented by: Biff Tannen

    “beautiful patience in his music ”

    EXCELLENT choice of words.

    @Gaba- Im not sure where I rank Belus just yet…time will tell. I do know that I like the album and think it’s a worthy addition to one of the most important discographys in metal.


  10. Commented by: Grimulfr

    Filosofem seems to merit another careful listen


  11. Commented by: appollyonx

    I’m on the fence about it. On the one hand I wouldn’t piss on him if he were on fire. But on the other hand its a pretty good, mature, Black Metal album. Yeah, it probably will be forgotten by years’ end, but it’ll be interesting to see what he puts out next. I’d really like to see a back to roots Black Metal album, on the same level as Burzum/Aske etc… That’s if the metal community of Norway doesn’t kill him first.


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