Burzum – Fallen (2011)

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Music

To even attempt to give a description or history of Varg Vikernes and Burzum would take hours of description and pages of webspace, so I’ll leave the formalities to Wikipedia (link below) and simply state that this is a man of genius in the black metal community, and one of the greatest composers of music the genre has ever seen. Keep in mind, however, that it is black metal – which if you don’t follow, you can pretty much skip the rest of this post.

Varg’s new offering “Fallen” is essentially the album that “Belus” should have been. It has more natural production, generally more memorable riffs, and tentatively branches out in a new direction – where “Belus” just was keen to drive straight home. Otherwise, however, Burzum is refusing to move from the well worn position it holds in the black metal community and I, for one, am happy about it.

First off, the production is less fatiguing on the ear, with the some of the grating highs of “Belus” curved into tamer lo-fi fuzz. “Budstikken” in particular sounds more like a floating trip through indie territory than the hyperspeed, death metal infused aggression of modern black metal. Discounting ambient tracks, there are 5 lengthy Burzum morsels to chew on in “Fallen.” Taking all the restraint of a monk not to give you a track by track break down, the riffs in each track struck me as more moving than Belus, a feeling directed strongly by a stronger melodious undercurrent. One could say there has been little to no progression in riff writing since “Filosofem” – dual guitar lines and hypnotic harmonies move at the same varying tempos with the same drum patterns previously set to repeat. “Fallen” would having me waving a “self-plagiarism” banner high if it wasn’t so refreshing to hear fresh and melodic Burzum riffs.

The new inclusion to the arena is Varg’s clean sung vocal lines, perhaps best displayed in the dare-I-say-it catchy chorus to “Jeg Faller.” With a vocal register sitting just above spoken word we can safely say Varg is definitely no Garm (not even a Rob Darken). However, it’s an inclusion well suited to the mystic charms of the repetitive music.

I mentioned ambient tracks previously which are positioned as the opener and closer to the album. Varg has chosen once again to completely forgo the synthesizer route making the traditional percussion and whisperings not so boring to as be skipped, but non-essential. Those who enjoyed the haunting melodies which droned over previous albums like “Det Som Engang Var” may still be disappointed but overall the guitars and ever more noticeable bass lines are enough to cast the atmospheric spell of a good Burzum track.

If you thought “Belus” was rehashing earlier glories, then this will no doubt confound as to why Varg is sitting still after so many years. Otherwise, know that Burzum has superceeded the previous effort, and that, my friends, is a great thing.

Tracklist:
01 – Fra Verdenstreet
02 – Jeg Faller
03 – Valen
04 – Vanvidd
05 – Enhver til Sitt
06 – Budstikken
07 – Til Hel og tilbake igjen

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link | Download (320kbps): Link

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