Death Metal Underground

Last Burzum metal recording ever

by Staff
April 27, 2013 –

burzumBurzum composer Varg Vikernes has posted a “goodbye” to his old self as a metal composer and in a sentimental posting, announced his retirement from metal and his intent to pursue ambient music alone.

Burzum appeared from nowhere in 1991 with a demo tape made up of a dozen guitars-and-bass-only tracks in rehearsal quality. I made a few more or less successful metal albums, but they all always included at least some ambient music. With time I moved further and further away from metal, and today only the ambient music remains. Today (2013) I think I am done playing metal music for good.

Many of you followed Burzum through the years, some even from the beginning, and I think metal-Burzum deserves a proper “good bye”. So, just like I started out I will finish metal-Burzum with a guitars-and-bass-only track in rehearsal quality. “Back to the Shadows” is made up of the last metal riffs I ever made (in 2012). It was never released in any way, or recorded (beyond what you hear here), and it will not either — beyond this short “video”.

Take it for what it is; a sentimental good bye to metal-Burzum.

The music is playing with an image of the 17 year-old me, taken from the time when some of the first Burzum tracks were made. You can see this track as a good bye to that fellow too.

For those of us who have been watching Burzum and Vikernes over the years, this is a welcome development. Heavy metal is beautiful but it will always be attached to popular conceptions of entertainment. Ambient music, especially complex material, gets treated as culture.

While we hope to change that perception of metal and to have it be studied as art and part of culture, that’s an uphill battle when the fans routinely rush to gimmick bands and depthless clones in a hope to be part of the next popular trend.

Either way, this bodes well for more interesting compositions in Burzum’s future.

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6 comments

  • bitterman

    Hearing this makes me view these couple of riffs as the raw materials of what could be a Filosofem quality song that will never happen. As Burzum moves into being a full ambient project, how much of it is going to be a continuation of 90s Burzum and how much of it is going to just be a rehash of prozen themes organized as pleasant background music like Wardruna or Elend to pander to an audience who wants Within the Realm of a Dying Sun: The Viking (and not as good) Edition? …Watching Metal:A Headbanger’s Journey and seeing the politically correct rationalizations for not interviewing black metal’s main figures, Kerry King making excuses for the nu-metal albums, and Max Cavalera as a neo-homeless metal/gangster rap hybrid… The real headbanger’s journey is you listen to metal, try to find the “heaviest” or, what is musically “true”, discover the gems in the vast rough like Altars of Madness and Transilvanian Hunger, then move on, learning some life knowledge and experience, with Bolt Thrower’s last couple Earache albums serving as a metaphor for the war of insanity that is modern life. Unfortunately, people need their products, so there will always be music that’s as competent as this final Burzum metal track: pleasant melodies that don’t really develop but capture a stock mood that will make the unwise think something profound happened. Maybe the lyrics in The Red in the Sky is Ours was a complex allegory for dethroning death metal’s mediocre “greats” and, when all the idiots get lost in the garden of grief, realizing all the Entombed clones and chugga chugga “Society sucks man, Nazis wrong, Barney Greenway good, we think for you now” songs are kind of crappy, move on to a new phase of ambient works (metal artists secretly influenced by/retirement music) and classical (mostly reflected in early At the Gates contrapuntal melodies). I guess I can still buy a Soulside Journey longsleeve but, there will always be the lame “horror movie fan and shocking memes” culture that seeks to round you up under their lifestyle umbrella and, that’s truly sad. Then again, Dismember’s first album is too complex for people and Entombed are an expensive bunch, so throw Bloodbath on a festival bill and you get double the profit: soon to be valium addled Opeth fans and the B-Movie horror melodies under Entombed Clandestine clonage fans are both appeased. Cradle of Filth is the “shocking” band with the safe maiden-isms and Sisters of Mercy-isms that can be easily identified for the masses to consume and thus, look “different” in front of their social group when in fact being just like them. That Kerrang article is a metaphor for how shitty this world can be: don’t learn anything from Burzum’s music, but dress the part, you’ll be cool and different. Just laugh or get upset at Varg’s musically unrelated activities (the murder thing) or make the “2 deep 4 u” band with easily identifiable Burzum influenced “ambient” riffs but with hippie drum circle interludes to satisfy the drone/shoegaze crowd out there who only like “black metal aesthetics” by people who don’t like black metal but use it as a form to express their music (screamo), like Liturgy, Deafheaven, Wolves in the Throne Room,… Maybe metal will have a great album that has a clear goal and idea it wants to express like Soulside Journey, but with metal’s currently in vogue status, and the awareness created by the internet both good and bad, it won’t happen unless it goes way back underground and is done by a socially inept world-weary type (Ildjarn) or an eccentric vagabond (Beherit). The rock star attitude and tour circuits lifestyle in it has to die… Perhaps Century Media with their best sellers still doing dismally in the charts, relying on package tours headlined by mainstream bands for their roster, and resorting to suing people who download from their current”triple A” bands, their new found motive for reissuing so much old cult material ($$$$$) is a sign of demise for the current “culture” and the change to come…

  • metal bob

    Hopefully this’ll feel like a ‘liberation’ for him. I think we all know he was only going through the motions for the post-prison albums, which must’ve been dispiriting. Take the money and run now Varg, good luck to ye.

  • Syd

    Sounds good. But how can one define a purely ambient and purely metal album anyway? Hvis lyset tar oss and Filosofem are in fact more ambient in structure than the keyboard albums that followed.

    Reworking older songs like Et Hvitt Lys Over Skogen and Kaimadalthas’ Nedstigning while utilizing Filosofem style production could probably have held some potential for a decent followup to those old albums.

    At any rate, let’s just wait, see and hope for the best!

    Triumphant Hails from Syd!

  • Metal Command

    We should praise him for this. Umskiptar and Fallen were so half-ass that it was impossible to listen to even ten minutes of either one. He’s moved on, thank Satan, from trying to be something he doesn’t want to be, to being something he can do well. If he doesn’t half-ass it.