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Reviews

Burzum: Umskiptar

08/06/12  ||  Cobal

There’s little I can add to all that has been said about this man and this musical project that has lasted for over 20 years now, despite all the adverse circumstances we’re all well aware of, and that Varg himself had had coming in the first place. After being in jail for such a long time, apparently now he’s in conditions to release an album per year, something many of his fans had been having wet-dreamt of for a long, long time.

Personally, if not a fan, I’ve deeply enjoyed ALL Burzum’s works, and I mean every single one of’em. It’s true, if anyone liked “Burzum” from 1992, don’t they take for granted “Filosofem” is their kind of shit, and I wouldn’t even need to explain why “Dauði Baldrs” was meant for a very different kind of audience. Check them out if you haven’t, they all rock and hard. Ignore the lyrics if you happen to be a proficient speaker (listener, understander) of Norwegian language, and unless you’re a Neo-Nazi wotanist or something. No offense there.

Something I caught a glimpse of when listening to “Belus”, and now I’m positive of, is that strictly with regard to the musical aspect “Umskiptar” is third in a series that started out precisely with “Filosofem”, skipped a couple releases and continued with “Belus”, and that again jumped to our days to keep making us go trippy with the record I’m writing on at the moment. You may say I’m being delusional, yet there are plenty of common elements in the three of them that support such a statement.

At this moment, dear reader – yes, I’m addressing you directly -, you could go and get a glass of your fave liquor, for I’m about to start. Thank you.

What is there to be found here? Atmosphere. That’s all “Umskiptar” is about, creating a thick dream-like atmosphere. And no, the way I see it, you won’t have nightmares after listening to it. As decades have passed, Vikernes has refined his sound up to the point he doesn’t need to produce in you a scary feeling to have a terrific huge effect. And don’t you be mistaken, the word atmospheric doesn’t always mean overuse of keyboards nor lame weak guitar playing. Thick I said, THICK, godamnit!

Being sort of a musician, one of the mandatory check points for any piece of music to be judged is songwriting, and more specifically, the way the such called composer manages the themes and leitmotifs. In that department, good ol’Varg has become a fucken master. For me, there’s a precious balance among the part every instrument carries, and that includes vocals, you know. Songwriting is flawless song after song, and that’s that.

I’m starting to believe it’s just me, but again I felt as if, although each one of the songs is great by themselves, the album works as a whole piece, rather than a compilation of tracks as it usually happens with non-conceptual records. Truth be told, I could listen to this beast all day long once and again without doing absolutely anything but being in a trance state, trying to figure out if its fury or profundity the idea behind it.

Something that I think might come to your mind when reading this is “atmospheric equals boring“. First of all, let’s remember it’s black metal were talking about, so yes, for the lovers of the genre there’s gonna be enough to praise; and second, the thickness I’ve been mentioning once and again, is perfectly well grounded and solidly built out of a perfect knitting of consistent guitar and bass riffs, appropriate drums playing and SOME keyboards every now and then, all this providing a rich and stable base for Varg to almost pray along during an hour or so.

If you’ve been reading so far, at this time you know, YOU KNOW I loved listening to “Umskiptar”. It makes great trippy listening, and no wonder this will be in the Class6(66) ASAP. After the mediocre album “Fallen” was, this feels like a new breath, and every fan should joy. Grab all the miserable coins you’ve got and go get it next 21st. This is the first time I rate an album like this:

10

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Byelobog Productions
  • Website: www.burzum.org
  • Band
  • Varg Vikernes: vocals and all instruments
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Blóðstokkinn (Soaked in Blood)
  • 02. Jóln (Deities)
  • 03. Alfadanz (Elven Dance)
  • 04. Hit helga Tré (The sacred Tree)
  • 05. Æra (Honour)
  • 06. Heiðr (Esteem)
  • 07. Valgaldr (Song of the Fallen)
  • 08. Galgviðr (Gallow Forest)
  • 09. Surtr Sunnan (Black from the South)
  • 10. Gullaldr (Golden Age)
  • 11. Níðhöggr (Attack from Below)