I hope this doesn't put anyone off from enjoying the album or kill their own hopes or alter their own opinions...
but Belus really is Diet Burzum: I was assuming that on this album he'd really expand on what he'd made before, but instead Varg just retread the tired, old beaten path, and did it hurriedly so. He's pulled a Metallica, sans-dead bassist.
It's still very much palatable like our old Burzum, but, like diet soda, do I really want to consume this toxic cancer-causing shit? Is it really rewarding in the end, or did I just waste 40 minutes of my life again playing something I don't really, honestly enjoy?
The riffs are basic, droning and minimal -- typical Burzum Filosofem style -- but so are the entire arrangements of the songs, and that's where I am left un-awed. I've listened to post-80's pop punk with more musical drive and ambition than this, and that's not saying much. lol
It pained me to listen to this because there were so many possibilities in this music, and they were completely wasted on Lego-tower pop music arrangement. Hot Topic will eat this shit up though.
Filosofem was a step down from Hvis Lyset Tar Oss in terms of dimensional development versus droning repetition, where Filosofem relied much more on the latter, but still ventured off enough to paint a big-enough picture. From what I remember, since I stopped listening hours ago, Belus relies almost entirely on droning repetition -- something you'd expect from someone who doesn't grasp musical form very well, which is surprising, because Varg seemed to intuit form expertly on all his previous releases.
There's this concise, droning patterned repetition in Filosofem, but this repetition is encapsulated in chunky phases and are arranged accordingly -- not for the ADD-ridden or the impatient. This is already really minimalistic form. But dumb it down a little more, and you got "twee pop music", like the reviewers around here would put it.
The aesthetic is refined; nice and cute and sparkly. Beneath this wrapping we find little, however. It's like a hamster wheel journey through a scrolling forest wallpaper.
All those things said, if Varg doesn't remake his keyboard albums into something really amazing on metal instrumentation in the near future, someone else should take the liberty of doing so, since it's clear he barely even cares about his music anymore or has the spirit for it; he's got other things on his mind now.
Whether he was influenced by contemporary bands, or whether his artistic mentality took him to the same path of least resistance as everyone and their mother's BM bands arrived through, we don't know: All we know is that they both arrived at the exact same place, regardless of means.[/2cents]