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Classic Review: Burzum - Burzum/Aske

Label: Misanthropy Records
Year released: 1995
Duration: 58:01
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: December 4, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 3.51/5 (70.26%) (76 Votes)

Extracurricular activities aside, one thing that someone is sure to remember about Varg Vikernes are his inhumane vocals. What some would dismiss as mindless screaming feels more like a mix of agony, despair and rage when it is combined with Varg's musical extravaganza. The music here is your basic, slightly above minimalist, raw Black Metal. While many bands pathetically fail at pulling this off, here Burzum offers the aforementioned along with a few interesting solos and some discreet but expert use of synths (the way they should be used, as far as I'm concerned.) But there's more. While a lot of the bands influenced by Burzum often come out as somewhat monotone, Burzum manages to keep the ear occupied by offering something that's... catchy? I guess that's the best qualificative I can find. The guitar work, while not going into technical wankery, gets very interesting at times. All that adds up to building an atmosphere of hatred, despair and, to some extent, madness - all helped by Varg's out-of-this-world vocals. These vocals are sick enough to put off even some seasoned raw BM amateurs who might prefer a more restrained style. But if you can take it, this is well worth immersing yourself into. This is not the kind of album one listens to, it's more like an album one experiences. A classic Black Metal masterpiece.

Slight annoyance, although kind of understandably included: "Dungeons of Darkness" is an extremely quiet track that sounds like a recording of burning wood. No need to mention what is burning, I guess. :) The recording is so low that it's almost like a 5-minute silent track, something I've never been too fond of. Somehow in this particular case, it doesn't annoy me as much as it usually does. End rant. :)

Additional Information

This is a 1995 reissue of Burzum's first album (Burzum) and EP (Aske), released on Misanthropy Records in 1992 and 1993, respectively.

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