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Burzum- Anthology

Label: Candlelight Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


Burzum is lead by the now infamous (or famous depending on your perspective) Varg Vikerness who is currently in prison and has spent twelve years of a twenty one year sentence, convicted of murdering Mayhem frontman Øystein Aarseth, as well being found guilty of arson in the burning of several churches. At this point the man’s reputation has probably overshadowed his musical works but none the less he has played a roll in the early development of Norway’s Black Metal scene. His contributions to what was once a small circle of friends with a common interest in the occult defying Christianity and all organized religions, grew to immense popularity with the genre including Mayhem, Darkthrone, Dimmu Borgir, Gorgoroth, and Immortal. Using ancient mythology as his lyrical guide (with the name Burzum coming from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings), Varg did compose in a traditional Black Metal fashion in the vein of forefathers Bathory and Venom. Burzum relied less on blast beats and raw speed than most Black Metal bands, instead focused on mid paced, drawn out riffs forming an ominous atmosphere at times.
 

Do I find Burzum important, unique, or groundbreaking for this musical style and sound?…..not so much but it does have its place in Heavy Metal’s history. The man himself I have no respect for and you would never catch me spending my money on an artist who commits such wrongful acts towards man or the church.

This short eight song “Anthology” at least gives the gist of Burzum’s music. Like all Black Metal, especially the earlier years for the above mentioned bands, the music and vocals are very harsh and at times poorly recorded. This intentional I know. Tracks like “Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown” (taken from Burzum in 1992) and “Stemmen Fra Tårnet” (taken from the E.p. “Aske") contain a very thin drum and bass sound with Varg’s painful vocal (it sounds as if the man has been drinking kerosene) and the guitars up in the mix. Melody in the guitar lines are incorporated at times like for “Lost Wisdom” where you will here Celtic Frost’s influence but not to any significant level where it becomes melodic. Adding a bit of mood and dimension to the music, the two minute “Svarte Troner” is without the guitars, drums and voice focusing on just haunting instrumentation and sounds creating a dark soundscape. “Det Som En Gang Var” (taken from "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" 1994) is more epic in scope lasting fourteen minutes with attention to layered composition and some limited dynamic range.

“Anthology” is a special first time collection of material that spans Burzum’s ten plus year recording legacy, most still unavailable for US fans featuring selections from each of his six albums including one from his popular EP “Aske”. The only down side for the consumer not enough songs.

 
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