This album is a failure for the reason that it is the first Burzum album that is not listenable from beginning to end. The intro being what it is, is really irrelevant. It's an adornment, and is only as good as the rest of the album allows it to be. Belus' Dod was terrible, as this piece went absolutely nowhere, and was in a word, boring. Glemselen's Elv, while lighter, folksier, and sentimental, is not all the worse off for it, actually has development, and sounds like a more modern version of something that could have appeared on Filosofem. It actually has a certain grace about it, and while not as great as older Burzum, is still enjoyable. Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning sounds goofy, and once again goes nowhere. Sverddans has no place on a Burzum album. Keliohesten is infuriating because it could have developed into something akin to Hvis Lyset Tar Oss after the first riff pair. Morgenroede is unjustifiably long, as is the outro, but both showcase some fragments of transcendental melodies. The album ranges from boring, to Varg being a tease, to enjoyable but not as good as the old works. The real tragedy is that this is the first Burzum album I'll only be keeping a few songs from, and this is what is meant by the directionlessness talked about when criticizing the album, that it sort of hits upon quality by accident of Varg naturally being a good composer, but not giving anywhere near his all. It is not unified, and this prevents it from being the same spell that Varg once conjured.Everything in the above post is correct.
I think a major problem for Varg is that after Filosofem he's attempted to move from casting spells to telling stories. He should stick to sorcery.
All too true. Belus
is not terrible, Prozakistan's hijinks notwithstanding(looks like you can troll trolls after all). However, it *is* terribly mechanical. It seems to suffer from a problem that afflicts a lot of other recent black metal like Advent Parallax
, Kembatinen Premaster
, Negative Plane, and Deathspell Omega, as well as a few older semi-classics like Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
. Namely, its self-awareness leads the listener down a pre-defined path. There is too much intent, and too little risk. No wandering or exploring. Just a mission, which is not bad in and of itself - but if the outcome is predetermined from the start, what's the point of enduring the journey? That's like being in the Olympics but making sure all the other runners have been drugged.
What works for Bach does not necessarily work for black metal. Every minutely precise movement in Belus
is an intended one. Everything that occurs, does so under full awareness. Sounds good on paper, but as a result, the album is manacled to its own intent, making it a very conscious, legible, dictative album - whereas Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
(and, notably, just about every other excellent black metal album) is the exact opposite; it is dreams, mysteries, sleeptalking, and participation in (not academic knowledge of) myth. Not only that, but the "OK for anyone else, shitty for Burzum" is an entirely valid complaint. We expect more from kings than paupers - else they don't remain kings for long...