It's Belus...how could it be the other way? How could he be different?
Judging by its elements alone it shouldn't made good impression on me. Quite the opposite. There are many things undeniably bad on this album. Song writing is simplified even in comparison with Filosofem, it succumbs to modernity, part of depth is lost because of guitar tone and production (it lacks that space which benefits debut and Filosofem), I hear Pink Floyd in it, I simply can't stand Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning (failed experiment which brings to mind very bad analogies) and Belus' Tilbakekomst seems obsolete for me (while I see nothing wrong with the Sworddance even if it's composed of ancient styles of metal, because it actually transfer its meaning through simple, obvious symbolism). However, taken as a whole and when connected with fragments of lyrics which I managed to understand through german translation it somehow manage to communicate its concept, there is a journey in it, but unfortunately (for me at least) rarely in song structure, rather through correlation beetween each songs. When you comprehend whole album and when you recall it in memory after listening. But don't forget that Vikernes abandoned more narrative style of debut long ago and for most of his carrer was seeking transcendence in layers of cyclic drones. Personally I would prefer Belus to be "told" utilizing Burzum S/T method.
I believe that ANUS judgement is temporary. They didn't applied same (holistic) criteria as for Engram, which is similarly constructed and have similar flaws.
Somehow I didn't like that brighter approach when taken by Abyssic Hate, Manes, Lugubrum etc. because they appeared to me as a non-metal, derived from rock and thus misplaced and destroying unity of theme, but then I realized that many great Black Metal works (by Darkthrone, Enslaved, Gorgoroth, Ildjarn, Graveland, Vlad Tepes or Legion of Doom) contained only as much death, darkness and tragedy as life itself and actually got broad range of moods, but as it seems they must be executed in certain way by certain people in certain context.