This is the last Burzum album that is metal, with the next two being dark ambient recorded in his jail cell. While those are good, they don’t have the same impact as his metal albums and in particular, this one. This was released while he was in jail and he says he has never heard the final master of it (he has later explained why he said that) but it is perfect. A lot of people like to complain about the sound, saying it is horrible and that any atmosphere is lost due to it, but that is simply untrue. Any real black metal fan knows that production like this only ENHANCES the atmosphere to even greater proportions. While Varg may not be the most talented musician in the world, his knack for songwriting and mesmerizing passages are one of a kind. Just listen to the first track, Dunkelheit, and tell me it is not brilliant.
This album consists of 4 metal tracks and 2 ambient ones, the last two being ambient, and even more, the last track is the ambient version of track 4.
1. Dunkelheit (Darkness) – metal
2. Jesus’ Tod (The Death of Jesus) – metal
3. Erblicket Die Töchter Des Firmaments (Beholding the Daughters of the Firmament) – metal
4. Gebrechlichkeit I (Decrepitude I) – metal
5. Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Säule Der Singularität (Travelling Between the Transcendental Pillars of Singularity, or something like that. My German is not too good) – ambient
6. Gebrechlichkeit II (Decrepitude II) – ambient
With that said, the metal songs themselves are really Ambient Black Metal because they entrance you and provide wondeful soundscapes. Every track on here is amazing, even the 25 minute track 5, which works even if it is only the same 6 notes being played over and over again. Listen to this in the dark and let your mind wander far off into the distant mountains and forests. The repetition each song presents is never boring, but mesmerizing and captivates you and pulls you into its dark lair. Listening to these songs, it’s like you are dreaming, dreaming something cold and sorrowful, then you awake to find yourself amidst a nighttime forest filled with all the creatures that the night brings.
Varg was/is a master of composing beautiful melodies and epic black metal and turning everything upside down in the process, making everything you think you know about black metal irrelevant. If you can buy only one album, let it be this one and discover the secrets of the universe in the process…
P.S. To everyone who takes sides with Euronymous and Varg. Can’t you just enjoy both bands?