Listening guide for Burzum The Ways of Yore

varg_at_work

Controversial Burzum mastermind Varg Vikernes gained a new method of being divisive, which is that his recent tracks “Mythic Dawn” and “Forgotten Realms” are sparser and more circular than his earlier work. This invokes criticism of his ambient music work, specifically his most recent album, The Ways of Yore.

While this album strikes me as a quality work, it also has a feeling that parts of it are rushed, and as a result the full conceptual depth of a Burzum album has some rough edges. I present the following listening guide for those who want to experience his newer work at full intensity:

02. The Portal
06. The Reckoning Of Man
04. The Lady In The Lake
05. The Coming Of Ettins
08. The Ways Of Yore
10. Hall Of The Fallen
13. To Hel And Back Again
11. Autumn Leaves

Arrange the tracks in this order. Some are missing; those can be listened to another time. Prepare yourself with the most silent circumstances you can find, which is usually late at night. Turn off the computer, the lights, the TV, the videogames. Slow your breathing until it is regular and you are relaxed.

Place into your mind the vision of a descent down a large spiral staircase. You will be going into a place that is not dark or light, but a place where what we think of as good and evil have been suspended for something far greater than individual humans. This is a space for epic warfare, battles of the soul and perhaps mystic wisdom.

Then, ignore the spoken lyrics. However this album is meant to be experienced, it is best as a piece of music without worrying about meaning outside of the organization of sounds. Ignore the name Burzum. Clear your mind of everything and listen.

Most of the above is generic advice for any listening, but it allows this album to present itself in a new context, which is that of a lack of the two intrusions that normally cloud human vision, namely the self and the distracting world. Settle down into this one and see where it leads you.

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71 thoughts on “Listening guide for Burzum The Ways of Yore

  1. Ara says:

    I think if you ignored the name Burzum, you wouldn’t be rationalizing how to make an album that is dissatisfying into something not only palatable but effective. Records shouldn’t need a how-to guide on being appreciated.

    1. Manhunter says:

      If Varg weren`t a arsonist, racist, anti-semite, chainmail wearing European-hailing murderer no one would care about his GarageBand experiments.
      His image is why he attracts edgy kids and Internet Viking-wannabes who buy his Garaband experiments and in the end
      pay his bills. He is probably much more aware of what he is doing than his fans.

      1. Ara says:

        I think having a boner for metal dudes because of their violent acts when they were pretty much childrens’ age is silly. I know that around here that the metal ethic is synonymous with rejection of common ideals and that if you burned churches down or killed people there will be an allure to the legend behind your name but I think it’s silly and juvenile. As much as this site tries to be objective, purely about the music, and reality-based, chances are if you had some violent extracurriculars you have some unearned musical cred here, which is as silly as idiotic women proposing to Ted Bundy when we was in jail.

        1. fenrir says:

          Ara,
          you really think people around here think his music is great because of those crimes he perpetrated?
          Man, you are clueless and show yourself as the mainstream postmodernist who doesnt know the first thing about the art he is criticizing beyond bear technique (a mere tool) and cold sociological interpretations.

          Burzum put out some of the best black metal that has ever been made back in the day. This is not some exaggerated statement by a fanboy. Once you understand black metal as a separate genre and how it works, you will understand what makes Burzum great. Again, and of course, music must always be felt first.

          Thus the importance of understanding it philosophically, technically and historically in an integral way. No respectable genre is about its mere “raw feeling” alone. Both Death Metal and Black Metal go well beyond Cannibal Corpse’s or Marduk’s musical comedy. But they are also much more than the naiive technical indulgence (which purports to be far more advanced than the old school) of newer acts. There is a reason why Morbid Angel and Burzum are among the iconic classics of the genres and it is not a matter of seniority. Same goes for early Black Sabbath which gets “grandpa” respect but is seldom understood for the achievement which stands in quality to this day in an metal album such as Master of Reality.

          Fans who fail to do this are the kind who look down on Morbid Angel as some kind of “early and lowly technicality”, ignore the perfect debut of Incantation, overlook the yet-unsurpassed debut of At the Gates. These are the same people who glorify more pedestrian bands like Monstrosity or Revenant who show a more obvious and explicit technicality and progressive intent which do not serve to build or produce anything beyond their own expression.

          1. Burzum put out some of the best black metal that has ever been made back in the day.

            If you want the 8:15 guide to Burzum, try this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwpQriG4MYQ

            If you want the uncensored and unfiltered history of Burzum, try this:

            http://www.burzum.com/

            It’s hard to deny his influence on Darkthrone, Mayhem and Immortal as well.

            1. Concerned Citizen says:

              Fenriz himself said Transilvanian Hunger is “fast Burzum”. PC people try to deny Burzum out of “idealogy” (more out of fear of “herd persecution”) but will champion Darkthrone’s album even though Varg wrote the lyrics for half of it (Fenriz lyrics seem to share similarities in “mentality” with Varg’s as well from this time). No one seems to even realize that now it seems…

              1. fenrir says:

                Thanks for saying that.
                Most serious Burzum fans, such as myself, do it for the music and we see crimes and actions he did as juvenile outbursts that lie outside music.
                Those who are against Burzum are the ones who keep talking about his ideology as a way to reject him.

          2. Ara says:

            Fenrir- until you can talk to me without falsely labeling myself as whatever you want in order to assert dominance in yet another opinion-based argument, I’m not going to read anything you have to say let alone attempt to dignify it as having any argumentative substance.

            1. without falsely labeling myself as whatever you want in order to assert dominance in yet another opinion-based argument

              I think he has the perception that you did the same:

              you really think people around here think his music is great because of those crimes he perpetrated?

              I think we should just establish that people like Burzum for musical reasons, or at least, that this is a plausible reason why they like it.

              You can tell the real Burzum fans because they refuse to refer to Varg’s terroristic acts as “crimes.” It’s an interesting debate, with ISIS destroying religious artifacts in the middle east right now much as Varg burned down historic churches, but it raises the question: must you eradicate all but your own viewpoint to rule?

              SJWs think so.

              In a Machiavellian sense, they may be perfectly correct.

              1. Ara says:

                I want to believe all defenses on this site are of a music-first nature, but the conclusions I’ve arrived at are derived from the numerous arguments I’ve read here that indicate otherwise. One of the main gripes with the modern metal movement is the loss of the ability to offend, which has nothing to do with music itself. Records are written off here as saying they are “communicating nothing” or are style based without a fundamental backbone unless they have a lyrical leaning regarding the occult, satanism, or extreme misanthropy, and two of those elements are fantasy based rather than rooted in reality, while reality is cited as being the cornerstone of this site often. Even by defending Varg as being exhausted or whatever is exploring a kinship with the man beyond the music presented. And as much as I don’t like to dredge up politics in a metal context, some of the stances I’ve encountered on here show me that some of his extreme ideologies are probably agreed with, which is fine if you can nut up and say it. Christian black metal , which I admit I haven’t listened to is immediately written off, assuredly not on musical merits. Everyone needs to stop pretending that it’s “all about the music” when metal is more of a package deal. If the image, ideology, music or whatever else doesn’t jive with people here there is an immediate problem. Also, MA has done some pretty important records but I doubt there would be a how to on appreciating their last record. Furthermore some statement like “once you know how black metal works” as if I’m some kind of idiot is not an effective means of arguing and more about ego boosting. Of course I know how black metal works. And while I have jumped to conclusions here I haven’t named anyone directly or called someone a title unfoundedly. We can be passionate here without losing civility.

                1. I’ve arrived at are derived from the numerous arguments I’ve read here that indicate otherwise.

                  Are those with writers/volunteers or with people responding in the comments section?

                  Even by defending Varg as being exhausted or whatever is exploring a kinship with the man beyond the music presented.

                  He’s already proven his worth to both metal and ambient, in my view; if his recent album has some tracks that are stronger than others, an explanation should be given.

                  The Ways of Yore is still better than 99% of the stuff — at least — which flows through the review queue.

                  1. Phil says:

                    “The Ways of Yore is still better than 99% of the stuff — at least — which flows through the review queue.”

                    It’s possible to be better than 99% of shit and still be a lurking, malodorous turd. I had to remind myself today that Burzum wasn’t always complete festival of sweaty dicks. The first three tracks of Filosofem were the best thing he ever did (NOT Hvis). He had on this record the mastery over what you could call the black metal “drop”; a helpless change in moods like the cutting of puppet strings.

                    I even watched one of his recent vlogs. He seemed pleasant enough, tinkering around with his cars. But the preponderance of army camo on everything he owns and his insistence on how fixing your own car takes a swipe at “the system” reminded me of how much a anachronistic failure he has become.

                    Varg has become a pottering balding racist. Admit it and move on.

                    1. Phil says:

                      I’d take this song over anything Varg did since Filosofem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2AitTPI5U0

                2. fenrir says:

                  Some people here may use the arguments espoused on this site without understanding them and in a rather dogmatic way.

                  The point that is being made is that Idea comes first and then music. Idea is not just “any idea of the musical sort”. But Idea as the clear picture that flows into the music. Unclear idea is reflected in the music. Such is the case of your band (where Idea and atmosphere come as an afterthought of the technical music being hammered). A contradictory idea is also shown in the music, like the latest Satan’s Host. A lack of idea and an intent to imitate also surfaces in the music, see Atomic Aggressor’s review on this site.

                  I think the topic was touched on Herdzfelt’s write up on Chalice of Blood’s Helig, Helig, Helig.

                  1. Ara says:

                    Once again these are arguments that can be understood without being agreed with, and no form of artistic expression should wear it’s pure intent on its sleeve. Multiple facets of expression should be available to the viewer and even then the whole picture should not be readily available. Who the audience is as people will reflect the intent of the author but never be fully understood since an artistic endeavor is utilized to filter this intent. Even the best black metal records, obvious in intent as they are, won’t provide a interpretation-free account into their existence. Doing so would only require speech instead of an artistic product. Regardless of how you feel about my band’s record, without knowing the creative process (which even I am not fully cognizant of), you don’t have the ability to fully denounce the product for having a lack of idea or creative vision. This vision utilizes varying moods and chaos on purpose, but if that makes for an unpleasant listen for you, there will always be a disconnect between what I write and what you enjoy finding in albums. Such is the beauty of expression, and pleasing everyone is the job of pop stars.

                    I am beginning to see a lot of why records get slagged here and I wonder how often the ideals get in the way of objective enjoyment. It seems the perfect metal composition in 2015 is impossible. You have to maintain an old school approach without being derivative, capture the mood of the classics without plagiarizing, display a clear idea without being too obvious, showcase stellar technique without overplaying, stick to one style without becoming stale, and so on. These are not bad ideals to uphold, but I would have hoped that after hearing the best of 2014 list here I would have had some kind of epiphany towards sublime metal composition, and I didn’t quite arrive there.

                    1. hypocrite says:

                      “Even the best black metal records, obvious in intent as they are, won’t provide a interpretation-free account into their existence. Doing so would only require speech instead of an artistic product.”

                      I disagree, as I see the main purpose of any artistic endeavor as communication. I also think that while appreciation can never be entirely objective, the best examples of any of art’s forms show an intent to communicate something clearly (with the interpretation reduced to a minimum or left as an afterthought). Even plain speech is subject to subjective interpretation, but the goal of the speaker is the same, if more mundane. Art is merely exercise (or worse) if the artist has nothing to communicate or purposely tries to obscure meaning.

                      Also, you say that “It seems the perfect metal composition in 2015 is impossible.” Yes, it does.

                    2. Ara says:

                      When you say the main purpose of any artistic endeavor is communication, do you mean the artist’s desire to express his or herself through art form or the need to convey what one is feeling to an audience? Because when the viewer of the art is taken into account more so than the art itself, we get extremely flawed art in the process. However, nothing artistic can exist if there is nothing to communicate. People are complex though, and sometimes the message can’t be linear. As for art being exercise if the author deliberately confuses meaning, my favorite movies and such are ones where I have to think about them long after to really know the avenues of artistic expression utilized. Movies like “Amour” leave plenty of room for interpretation and that’s what makes them effective. If art is supposed to imitate life, we can’t expect all the answers, and since we can’t ever fully understand the view of the artist, we are left with objective understanding, which yields personal taste and endless debate about subjective merits. Analyzing things to approach a sublimation of artform is fun but ultimately unyielding, and while we can approach what we deem is effective to ourselves, the nature of art can’t make things absolute.

                    3. need to convey what one is feeling to an audience?

                      This, definitely, except that it is not “feeling.” It is thinking. Emotion arises from perception which is a logical process at its best.

                    4. hypocrite says:

                      As Brett said above, what I meant by communication was a need to convey.

                      “As for art being exercise if the author deliberately confuses meaning, my favorite movies and such are ones where I have to think about them long after to really know the avenues of artistic expression utilized.”

                      Deliberately obscuring meaning and communicating something complex are not one and the same. The former generally indicates a lack of content, while the latter is what makes for repeated listens/views.

                      “…while we can approach what we deem is effective to ourselves, the nature of art can’t make things absolute.”

                      Seeing eternity in a pile of dog shit is a subjective experience. Communicating that to someone else is art.

                    5. fenrir says:

                      Each sentence is an obvious misunderstanding of my stance. but Ok, Ara.

                  2. Ara says:

                    Do you tell every person who disagrees with you on anything that they don’t understand what you’re saying?

                    1. Ara says:

                      Fenrir, you must be a drag to go out to lunch with. I can see it now:

                      Me: “I like this Reuben sandwich”

                      You: “Liking that particular sandiwch is an exercise is appreciating only the superficial elements about what makes a sandwich great but without a strong foundation to start on. Look at that thing. It has sauerkraut and thousand Islas dressing on it. It doesn’t know whether it’s a sandwich or a salad.”

                      “Well I think the elects that make up the sandwich are great, and together they make an awesome combination”

                      “That’s where you’re wrong. A great sandwich has to spell its intent to the eater in an obvious non-interpretive way. The Reuben clearly is cluttering up its message with unique flavors the make up for the fact that it has no clear idea to convey to your taste buds. It’s also clearly imitating superior sandwiches of the past but only their superficial elements instead of their structures. Also, how could you like thousand island dressing without knowing its history? Did you know it used to be called 999 island dressing until Big Mac fans infiltrated the music scene with their center buns and-”

                      “Hey is that Dualist over there? He has a degree in sandwich making. He seems to love the Reuben, and even had a ton of appreciation for the Reuben I made at home and tried to put my own spin on. Since he actually is educated in sandwich making and isn’t simply theorizing, he wouldn’t claim my sandwich is foundation ally bankrupt and would be able to taste what the maker is going for.”

                      “That doesn’t mean anything. Let me tell you about superior sandwiches of the Bronze Age and how their structures and ideas were far superior to the Reuben in an effort to put them in a lower class than the Reuben without actually saying anything.”

                      Meanwhile, Varg is at an adjacent table shaking his head in disgust toward someone eating a sandwich that he heard that Jews enjoy.

                    2. A great sandwich has to spell its intent to the eater in an obvious non-interpretive way.

                      You mean… communicate?

                3. fenrir says:

                  > Furthermore some statement like “once you know how black metal works” as if I’m some kind of idiot is not an effective means of arguing and more about ego boosting.

                  No, I did not intend any of that. But you seem, as many outsiders here, bent on the excuse that anyone here would call them out to “boost their ego”. Can you put that aside, please?

                  I am assuming you don’t get black metal because you dismiss Burzum, all of his work, with one broad stroke. Would it be fair if you did the same to Black Sabbath and still called yourself a metal fan? I don’t think so, I would think you don’t get Metal as a whole if you would do that. Thus my assumption.

                  I also did not imply that you were an IDIOT. I just implied you don’t understand black metal. Just as I could imply you don’t know martial arts, or don’t know the first thing about… say… geology, I don’t know. I am not insulting, just saying you do not seem to be into something or familiar with it.

                  1. Ara says:

                    I didn’t fully dismiss Burzum nor would I ever. The situation I’m talking about is the continued coverage of someone I feel is creatively out of juice while every other band that has followed suit in metal has been long cast aside. My sentiments of the mythology behind the man beyond the music being a potential cause for this are not unique to myself as other comments would indicate.

                    I’ll give this listening guide a shot, why not? I will hope to be objectively taken somewhere. When I normally want something like this out of music, I prefer harrowing stuff like Charnel House, but I give most releases a real chance. If I still feel like I’m mining the record for unfound brilliance because of past endeavors, I doubt I’ll be converted.

            2. fenrir says:

              That’s pretty hypocritical of you, Ara, as this is what you wrote:

              “I think having a boner for metal dudes because of their violent acts when they were pretty much childrens’ age is silly. I know that around here that the metal ethic is synonymous with rejection of common ideals and that if you burned churches down or killed people there will be an allure to the legend behind your name but I think it’s silly and juvenile.”

            3. trystero says:

              Ara pretty much every time you post you falsely label the majority of people on this site. That is really something… of course he should not do the same but pot/kettle man.

              1. Ara says:

                Do I?

                1. Dualist says:

                  You said: “..having a boner for metal DUDES..”

                  This is clearly aimed at the personal Varg hero-worship, not at his music. Your first comment makes this even clearer. It was Manhunter’s comment that targeted the music.

                  But between the two of you though, you’ve touched a nerve. The newer music from Darkthrone, Enslaved, Immortal, Gorgoroth etc. hasn’t been reviewed for years. The only reason Buzum still dutifully gets a mention is because of the personal aura still surrounding the man.

                  And here’s the acid test. If instead of Burzum a random new band sent The Ways of Yore in for review it would immediately be laughed out of the office complete with hilarious sadistic metal review. If they sent in an album containing the new Forgotten Realms track I’m quite sure the DMU staff would collectively locate the composer’s place of residence and physically set upon them, rightly so.

                  I remember the original Burzum reviews on ANUS praised Varg not just for his music but as ‘someone prepared to act on his beliefs’. That can be forgiven for being written back in the days when Black Metal still seemed threatening and people still laughably talked of a war on Christianity but it still sounded like part of the greatness of the band was tied it to those pitiful, cowardly actions on a cold Yuletide Eve.

                  Varg has produced about 1 and a half hours of brilliant music in his life, as did each of the other great bands, approximately. Which makes your comment from the last Burzum article ‘chances are they were sonic accidents made by young kids’ sound like it rings true. I have no firm answer as to why artists can so rarely rekindle the spark of their early days, but no one can pretend that Burzum has done anything other than produce worthless, mortgage-paying sounds, not music, since then.

                  1. Enceladus says:

                    I’ m fairly certain latest Immortal and Darkthrone were reviewed here. You want latest Enslaved reviewed? Just go read Monumension and RUUN reviews posted on the DLA. They’ve been putting out the shame shit for over a decade now. Also, getting a mention and getting praise are two different things. The post-prison metal albums were strongly criticized here, Belus was bashed while most people were wanking over Vikernes’ return. It’s like a common secret now that they were mainly a way for Varg to provide for his family.

                    “If instead of Burzum a random new band sent The Ways of Yore in for review it would immediately be laughed out of the office complete with hilarious sadistic metal review.”

                    And how do you explain the praise acts like Khand and Goatcraft received? Maybe you can’t see past form? Are you even trying?

                    1. Ara says:

                      I tried the Goatcraft album out. It seemed the praise there also went beyond the notes heard, as often the higher acclaimed albums here are done so because of the message they communicate, and that album was a very one-dimensional “classical” tinkering done by someone with an extremely metal band name with extremely metal cover art and metal song titles. Without vocals it is hard to skewer. I personally wasn’t taken anywhere with the record, aside from wanting to play Castlevania.

                      One of the disconnects between myself and this site is that I listen to metal with greatest excitement toward the notes heard first whereas it seems readers here want to hear the message and the rebellion first, and both myself and the readers tend to feel that the other’s perspective on this champions the more superficial elements of what is heard. I don’t particularly feel there is a wrong approach on either side, as there are multiple ways to appreciate something and you shouldn’t be skewered on the basis of what moves you. I admittedly like to theorize and to a lesser extent argue about music which is why this site is definitely more fun than others, but because of my outsider’s favoring of what I like to hear out of metal, I rarely expect to find common ground in any discussion.

                    2. One of the disconnects between myself and this site is that I listen to metal with greatest excitement toward the notes heard first whereas it seems readers here want to hear the message and the rebellion first, and both myself and the readers tend to feel that the other’s perspective on this champions the more superficial elements of what is heard.

                      You’ve said this before, but it seems not to stick. The reason — in my view — is that we put the whole package first. Remember that there’s a fair amount of praise here for bands with whom there is no resonance as to “message.”

                    3. Ara says:

                      Of course the whole package is considered but elements of that package seem to have a different hierarchy between other readers and myself. And once again that is fine. This is more theorizing, but at times I feel I’m drawn most to music that happens to be metal, whereas others here tend to be drawn most to metal that happens to be music.

                    4. Enceladus says:

                      @Ara

                      I’m no big fan of Goatcraft either (although his last album was decent). My point was that nothing would be laughed off here, just because it’s regarded as superficially incompetent or amateurish by some people.
                      I can accept that someone might find no worth in recent Burzum. What I can’t accept is how hard some people are trying to shove down our throats that we pretend to like it just because it’s Burzum or because Varg is a murderer, arsonist, racist or whatever.

                      “at times I feel I’m drawn most to music that happens to be metal, whereas others here tend to be drawn most to metal that happens to be music”

                      All metal is music, not all music is metal but quite often music pretends to be metal or wants to belong to metal, without actually having much to do with it.

                    5. Dualist says:

                      You’ve misunderstood what I was saying. I emphatically would not like to see those bands’ latest offerings reviewed. Or if they were reviewed, with a spirit of mockery. My bad, I hadn’t noticed The Underground Resistance review. Notice how it was even given a second, albeit equally terrible, review by Stevens. Simply because it was Darkthrone.

                      Khand got a decent review because it was not bad. Notice how the first theme from ‘A Death So Cold’ starts of with the same theme as the first one from Det Som Eg Gang Var (track) though. They’re clearly Varg worshipers too. Any good review of Goatcraft is inexplicable. Unless it’s just to resurrect the old neo-classical aspiration pretentiousness? Or he’s a friend of Prozak.

                      As for not seeing past form? Presuming you’re referring to musical form and not speaking in a Platonic sense, it should be clear to you that I most certainly can. Otherwise I wouldn’t appreciate mostly the same death/black metal that you do, most of which uses musical form less advanced than your average nursery rhyme.

                      I appreciate good composition. This album has none. Does it perhaps, as it certainly possible, communicate something despite this? Well, if you’re so taken in with Burzum that the lyrics from the new Forgotten Realm actually stimulates your fantasy – then I guess it does.

      2. If Varg weren`t a arsonist, racist, anti-semite, chainmail wearing European-hailing murderer no one would care about his GarageBand experiments.

        You seem to be forgetting his past history of cranking out great albums.

      3. Enceladus says:

        Those edgy kids are mostly butthurt liberals that bash his last 2 albums at any chance like they’re the worst thing that ever happened to music.
        His nordicist propaganda gets on on my nerves at times but that still doesn’t stop me from enjoying those albums.
        I agree with Brett btw, chanted tracks and tomhet remake can be skipped. And yeah “Sol Austan…” worked better as an album, even though it had lower highs.

      4. BROWN ASSHOLE SHOOTING LOGS says:

        His ambient work reminds me of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, you need a larger attention span to enjoy their Works. Large attention span is uncommon in people that use the term racist as an argument. You Manhunter are a witless fag emo cross dresser.

        1. Manhunter says:

          Actually I listen a lot to Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Ashra and early electronic music and Krautrock. It`s not my attention span why I don`t “get” or like the album. I don`t like it for the choice of cheesy and cheap sounds, croaking vocals and uninteresting composition.
          If I don`t like it, I don`t like it. There is no need trying to like it.

          1. I don`t like it for the choice of cheesy and cheap sounds, croaking vocals and uninteresting composition.

            Of these, all are surmountable except the last. Routinely CDs slide over our desks here with perfect production, excellent instrumentation and killer vocals, but uninteresting composition. It is fatal: the composition is the design of the music, and no amount of talent can improve a bad design.

    2. Richard Head says:

      Here, here. Shouldn’t have to skip tracks off an album to make it maximally affective.

    3. I think if you ignored the name Burzum, you wouldn’t be rationalizing how to make an album that is dissatisfying into something not only palatable but effective.

      Rationalizing is knowing that something sucks, and explaining why it should be good anyway. This article is looking at a musician’s later output and saying it needed some adjustment. This comes after positive reviews for all of his albums up until the black metal return, at which point reviews were very negative, and then liking his ambient material.

      Rationalizing would be looking at the latest Gorguts and saying, “Well, it’s incoherent and communicates nothing, but look at what great technique they have and I’m sure the guys in Gorguts really feel they’re expressing themselves freely!”

      The tracks listed here are quite good. It’s more like noting that while Iron Maiden’s fourth album has some good songs, there are a couple duds you should skip.

    4. fenrir says:

      It wasn’t dissatisfying for me. Not because it is Burzum. I just listened to it in the right place, in the right state of mind. Simple as that…

    5. fenrir says:

      I agree in a general way here. I think Brett is just trying to enhance the listening experience as Varg’s latest output hasn’t really been optimal. Brett admits this himself.

      Now, onto the question of listening to notes, as you say, versus capturing the whole aura of the music and artist. I think the aura of the artist himself should be blocked when listening to the music and let the music present its own evocation.

      Now, concerning the first. This is a technical way of appreciating music. I can indulge in it myself, but I do not think the best music is meant to be listened to in that way. In fact, this is where it may get confusing. By technical I mean in terms of the complexity of execution as well as how convoluted or ingenious the composition seems to be. I used to have a tendency towards this sort of listening and appreciation a few years ago.

      Some (myself included, now) would argue that the goal of music is the whole experience rather than a technical appreciation of it. A technical appreciation can only get the experience so far. It is difficult to open to a truly integral experience, contrary to what is commonly held. Especially if you have been a student of music (formal or otherwise) or the technical side of it.

      I believe the importance is in the balance of the technique in the service of the Idea. The technique can and should enhance the Idea as much as possible so long as the technical prowess or exposition does not become overbearing to the concept. Even when this is kept in mind, it is not usually achieved.

      I think this is what happens to the band Ara in the latest album, too. A critique of JS Bach can appreciate the dancing in this line that he does too, achieving works that are primarily technical expositions and others powerful evocative works of great technical complexity. A historian sees how Bach was gauging this, and how sometimes he just indulged in his own technical capacity as the virtuoso he was.

      You can try to compare Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes to Chopin’s Preludes. And if Chopin just seems to be on a lower technical level than Liszt, then try comparing that Liszt to Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Piano Sonata (No. 29, Op. 106). My skill on the piano does not go anywhere beyond the most basic (I am mainly a guitar player), but I would venture to say that Beethoven’s technical competence in the instrument was not inferior to Liszt’s, and composition-wise, it is hard to say anyone has yet toppled or even reached Beethoven’s heights. Now, most listeners would still call attention to Liszt’s technicality any day, while they wouldn’t do it straight away as a main feature with Beethoven’s Op. 106. Why? because the concept, the Idea being evoked in Beethoven’s music never becomes overrun by its technique. Liszt, on the other hand, seems to be using a concept to show how much technique he can put into it. The concept is only an excuse.

      This is the problem with most technical players and composers. They WANT to show their technical abilities. The Idea becomes a vehicle for their technical exposition. The best music is exactly the opposite, the technique expressly and solely as a vehicle of the Idea. This is precisely what Burzum is.

      Varg is admittedly, nowhere near in technical (in the playing of the instrument) capacity of an Alexi Laiho. And it maybe that less “gifted”(actually just less developed) players may be somehow protected from the wankery by their own limitations, leaving them no option than to try and produce evocation through purest means. If you don’t have the technique, your music MUST be compelling in some other way.

      1. Ara says:

        As much as I understand that Ara is a counterpoint to Burzum in this argument, I would appreciate if we didn’t have to dredge my band up in every three I participate in. To clarify, I dont give a shit about being technical, regardless of how high the bar is with 16 year olds on YouTube shredding their balls off. My goal is to write interesting music that is evocative to me as a musician, and as for the record, the Idea was always there. I titled the record, then wrote the music accordingly, making sure the album flowed as a single piece whe giving the songs enough character to express the theme of the record, which is the chaotic end of existence, in unique ways. If all you’re hearing is technique, I guess I’ll have to try harder to make my ideas clearer, but I am thrilled with how that particular condition came out, and since metal is for smart people, I don’t ever intend to create something painfully obvious. I’m familiar with metal written where technique is vastly more familiar than substance (necrophagist) and that is not what Ara is about. That being said, I know how you feel about the record, and you know how I feel about the record, and neither of us appears capable of compromise, so let’s move on. I’m as tired of seeing my band discussed on here as I am of defending what I do, which is should never have to do in the first place.

        1. I would appreciate if we didn’t have to dredge my band up in every three I participate in.

          This is a good idea. It is also probably not very useful to conjecture about the motives or psychology of the person with whom one is discussing.

          since metal is for smart people, I don’t ever intend to create something painfully obvious.

          There’s a happy middle between painfully obvious (Skinless, Mortician) and having expressive content that communicates on several levels.

          My archetype for this is Slayer; it can be enjoyed by idiots and geniuses alike.

          I’m as tired of seeing my band discussed on here as I am of defending what I do, which is should never have to do in the first place.

          I agree. Debate goes to the flushy stinky place when it becomes personal. We can all benefit from this reminder.

          1. Ara says:

            As for being appreciated by geniuses and idiots alike, remember that one-size-fits-all music is the pop music paradigm. It’s a slippery slope, which may indicate why the best metal is so elite as to walk the line and not fall in.

            1. I agree. The best metal takes a middle path between one-size-fits-all and extremely narrow audience targeting, usually by having elements of complexity hidden within ripping tunes. I would also point to early Therion here, probably inherited from Celtic Frost.

              1. Dualist says:

                @ fenrir

                “A technical appreciation can only get the experience so far. It is difficult to open to a truly integral experience, contrary to what is commonly held.”

                I agree – but although a technical appreciation on its own only goes so far, I would assert that it becomes more and more crucial in dealing with pieces of increasing complexity. With all metal, the technical composition is usually sufficiently simple to make the aesthetics judge-able by anybody. (I use aesthetics in the true sense of the word, that is, the appreciation of beauty and not in the sense usually implied around here which is more towards the idea of timbre.)

                Though this is not the same thing as saying all people will appreciate the Idea the work embodies. The two notions are closely connected but not identical. Many people will appreciate the musical beauty of Burzum, but only the more superior mind will absorb the Idea.

                However, with regards Western Music of the past few centuries, although pieces with, say, a nice simple melody like the Moonlight Sonata can be enjoyed by many who do not understand music, an appreciation of the technical composition aspects becomes more necessary with other works were the aesthetics themselves are hidden behind the riddle of their composition.

                JS Bach is a good example. To many people, works like the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Art of Fugue may initially sound like an endless sequence of undulating sixteenth-notes. Leonard Bernstein even admitted that this was his original impression of Bach’s music on first hearing it as a teenager, even AFTER he had started his musical training. But both works were, to a large degree, technical showcases showing off the composer’s mastery of form.

                But the difference between Bach and say, Handel, was the intent – the Aristotelian Idea behind nearly all of the former’s work shone through to all who could appreciate it. But it would be very difficult to get to that stage of appreciation of either work, and to a lesser degree the Hammerklavier, without an understanding of what actually constitutes a fugue, prelude or sonata and without knowing the various contrapuntal devices used to vary the themes.

                The situation is even clearer with the other example you made. Liszt’s compositions were far in excess of the technicality of Chopin’s. But again, the Idea behind Liszt was more about expression of mastery of the instrument, with less of any other Idea to savour once you ‘got’ the piece, whereas Chopin operated on a higher level, much as Bach did to Handel.

                Early Burzum is simple music technically – but an Idea, and that world were the Idea came from, is open only to those now rare souls unbattered by modernity.

        2. fenrir says:

          I did not mean to throw anything in your face but I see how it can be annoying. I wont bring your band in the discussion in the future.

        3. fenrir says:

          I think the latest Burzum is not good music as art, as some of his other works are. I just enjoy it for what it is. I can bring myself to the state and condition which uses this music. It just connects with me in particular. But objectively, it is not good music. Just functional in a certain context.

        4. fenrir says:

          Ara, I don’t think you indulge in Laiho-teenage wanking. I think your brand of technicality is of a higher-level nature. It is among my descriptions, the technically convoluted composition.
          I do not mean it as an insult. But I wanted to clarify that. I am not mis-appreciating your work.

          1. Ara says:

            Well that is appreciated. I am always looking for ways to improve.

  2. Kingdom_Gone says:

    I have listened to The Ways of Yore quite a bit but I still think that it’s not as good as Sol Austan, Mani Vestan which in my opinion is one of the brightest albums of recent years.

  3. ODB says:

    I find that the greatest music makes itself felt regardless of dressed up hearing circumstances. It cuts through the clutter and elicits a meditative state on its own terms.

  4. Imposition says:

    Well put, Ara.

  5. Jim Nelson says:

    Something about Burzum man, it always gets in your head.

  6. Phil says:

    Track 2 sounds like the backing track played in a bar scene during a Robin Hood movie. Except in the movie you’d only hear it for 30 seconds.

    Track 6 starts with “I remember” like every fucking Burzum song has done for the last 20 years. More repetitive plinky shit.

    Track 4 and fuck this plonky shit I’m done.

    1. Tasty Clitoris says:

      Yeah I agree with you. Better not waste any more of your time. Hurry now, the gay bar awaits you.

      1. Phil says:

        Calling someone “gay” doesn’t win every argument any more. It makes you look feeble, offensive and out of touch. Keep up with the times, grandpa.

        1. Calling someone “gay” doesn’t win every argument any more.

          I’ve noticed a pattern over the past two decades:

          1. People get in an argument and it gets nasty.
          2. One guy calls another a “faggot” or “gay.”
          3. I get a PM from the first guy asking for the other guy’s contact information.
          4. One of them posts some kind of happy, dreamy message, and neither are heard from again.

          Take it as you may, but I think this site has functioned as a hookup spot for latents in denial for years. There are probably many success stories out there in the Castro who owe their inception to a night of oil wrestling designed to “prove” one poster was right over another.

          1. Tasty Clitoris says:

            Well Phil seems like my kind of guy. Even if he doesn’t approve of late Burzum , I’d still like to engage in a friendly plink plonk with him some day.

            As for Burzum I totally support his blog http://www.thuleanperspective.com

            His hatred for Jews is so arousing.

          2. hypocrite says:

            Shhh… you’re ruining the magic.

  7. Black Commentator says:

    The album was poorly received. It’s advisable to accept that fact, put on some Big Sean, chill, and move on to greater things.

  8. Genocide for all says:

    Why must every discussion of the music of Burzum include some little faggot crying about Varg’s politics? “He’s a racist bastard!! He’s a murderer!! Burzum sucks!!” Go kill yourself.

    1. Manhunter says:

      I give him credit for sustained his family with his music and other output and I like some of his music. I don`t hate the guy. He is sort of funny how determined his delievers his agenda and view of things. Like when uncle Varg strolls through his garden and tells old lore how the jouce fucked the romans over or something like that.

  9. IamTHEblackMAGES says:

    Hey all, has anyone heard from Ara lately? I’m worried, he hasn’t been heard from since being exposed as a useless idiot. I don’t why why but my mind keeps asking me: What is best in life? Obviously, it’s to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women. Do you think that is about Ara being crushed, driven before us and crying like a delicate flower?

    1. Ara says:

      I hope so. Let me know when you reach Death Adder in Golden Axe, and watch out for imps stealing your bounty as you sleep by fire.

    2. Eeeeevery says:

      rose has it’s thorns.

  10. Grass says:

    Heil Odin suck balls.

  11. IamTHEblackMAGES says:

    They wouldn’t dare! I am Error, your base are belong to us!

Comments are closed.