Varg on Burzum’s Recording Process

Varg Vikerenes summarized how he recorded all of the initial Burzum albums in less than a day on a recent youtube Video he uploaded to his ThuleanPerspective channel. Varg admits he prefers rehearsal sounds to studio ones, that recorded Belus like a techno album, some of his most recent albums in GarageBand, and how he is unhappy with the Deathcrush style vocals on Burzum. Want to know about his fast-paced writing process, improvisation, and gear? Let’s find out!

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45 thoughts on “Varg on Burzum’s Recording Process”

  1. penishole says:

    So the brilliant old albums were recorded in like a day, and the mediocre new albums were painstakingly digitally recorded in a lifeless cut & paste fashion for weeks. Isn’t that how it always goes.

    1. Matt Risnes says:

      I was floored that he recorded Det Som Engang Var in 19 hours. At 19 years of age no less. I enjoy his newer albums as well, but they certainly lack the spark of inimitable genius and frenzied, yet controlled creativity of those first 4 masterpieces.

      All that having been said, I find his videos endlessly entertaining and his affable charm to be incongruously adorable.

      1. Johan P says:

        He’s got a brilliant sense of humour, who would’ve guessed.

  2. trueposersaretrue says:

    I would really like to get DMU’s viewpoint on Varg’s conception of being ‘true’ and who is making the ‘best’ music etc., since he seems to be completely opposed to DMU’s music worldview and actually likes if some bands are copying his riffs, nobody is the ‘best’, as explained in his video:

    1. penishole says:

      Let’s look at what he claims is his taste in music

      white label house music–degenerate faggot garbage, only accepted by some folks around here because they have this notion that electronic music is “white” music that’s somehow “above” rock (when in reality house is all about groove and is an evolution of disco, and was championed by gays and blacks)

      Tchaikovsky–superficial lyricism and no content, the classical equivalent of In Flames

      The Cure–a band for teen girls

      1. Get down with the boogie says:

        Nothing wrong with disco.

      2. trueposersaretrue says:

        For all his ‘shit’ music taste, he’s still is a lot more creative than you or me (tho I don’t know you) and even Brett Stevens (haha).

        Listening to the ‘best’ music does not imply you’ll ever create the ‘best’ music yourself.

        It just means you’re posing as someone with good taste – and maybe rightfully so.

        Moment of confession here: I listen to 95% of DMU recommendations because I won’t waste time searching through thousands of bands myself and even in my mind most of the other bands ARE shit while DMU’s choices are really impressive.

        So yeah, calling out DMU here because they strive so hard to find the ‘objective’ (LOL) qualities that validate their music choices when in fact – I believe – it’s more a matter of an emotional preference. Basically, they are trying to rationalize their own preferences in music. Music conveys emotions, aural landscapes, fantasy and so on. I agree that the new BM bands (at least the few I heard) wallowing in self-pity and nostalgia and indie-rock emotional BS is absolute crap – to me, but that does not make the old bands ‘objectively’ better.

        We consider the music that Varg did to be a lot more impressive than others’, but Varg is fundamentally right: his music is not ‘superior’ in any way, it represented a different approach at the time ; and it was a lot of improvisation from a teenager actually. Although some with acquired taste (and sufficient intelligence) can see that his music is better for reasons of originality, mythic content and successful expression of transcendence in the form of an aural landscape, at the same time it is simply their emotional preference that comes into play.

        So even though most of us here agree Burzum is good, that does not mean we are in anyways different from the masses of fans of other bands that also simply like the emotional experience that their bands convey. It just means that when we strongly believe this then there is a greater chance to convince more people of the fact that Burzum is good.

        In nihilistic terms, DMU’s critique means imposing its values through pure will. There’s nothing objective about it – otherwise they are not nihilists ;)

        1. Johan P says:

          It’s the other way around. DMU is superior, therefore everyone should accept the judgements here as good!


          1. trueposersaretrue says:

            EUREKA !

          2. C.M. says:

            What a load off my mind.

        2. Roger is OK Computer says:

          Objective and Subjective are not two sides of the same coin.


        3. Can you survive the blitzkrieg says:

          That’s fucking lazy, I like a lot of what has been recommended from this and the old anus and I would also urge anyone to look at the older articles and reviews as it seems a lot gets forgotten. But, I’ve always been able to find good music on my own and even from reading writings from people I think are stupid and have mostly shit taste/opinions I don’t agree with. If you rely solely on the DMU you’re going to miss a lot.

    2. Vance Refridgianno says:

      I will explain this to you with an anecdote:

      The first time I heard HLTO, I cried for 6 hours – edging almost the whole time – it truly is the album that ended metal. I immediately shaved my head, chest and groin then ordered a copy from Amazon along with a single pair of white kendo garb. The record has since arrived but remains unopened inside of its postage packaging, on my dresser between two candles which I light annually. I still have not heard the album since.

      That one man was able to change my life in such a profound way nearly absolves him of his political or religious transgressions.

      1. strawberry milk stout black IPAs with grapefruit flavored hops says:

        You rascal you

  3. trueposersaretrue says:

    Oh, damn, you actually posted that video in another blogpost haha.
    But my question still stands, you guys haven’t owned up here: what do YOU (DMU) think about being ‘true’ and why is being a clone such a band thing ? (for Varg it is not!… a clone!)

    1. Disease says:

      Being trve. You were the mature teenager circa 1990 struggling with depression and drug use while telling everyone how much of a satanist you are. In music, a subjective matter. Though it is a vast world and while there isn’t one true answer, there are some guidelines, or earmarks which can serve a purpose or be degenerative. It’s all been done time and time again so in that sense, most bands today are clones of something that came before. What matters, is the soul of any given art.

      Not DMU, just giving (a pointless) viewpoint.

      1. the good guys lost wwii says:

        Definitely a difference between influence and cloning. Nothing exists in an antiseptic vacuum, everything has influences. Cloning implies an artist who brings nothing new or meaningful to the “larger thing”/lineage he’s trying to be a part of.

        1. the good guys lost wwii says:

          also at the risk of sounding wishy-washy: it’s better to be influenced by the “soul” of music than to be influenced by it stylistically. If I hear two people claim to be inspired by Burzum, one playing black metal and the other playing techno, I’d me more inclined to listen to the Burzum-influenced techno because the dissonance there signals that the influence is beyond a surface level. The black metal band probably just has a bunch of “Burzum-sounding” arpeggios.

          1. Roger is OK Computer says:

            Who the fuck cares what the genre the music superficially sounds like?

            1. Roger is OK Computer says:


      2. trueposersaretrue says:

        Yeah the ‘soul’ of the art is basically what it conveys to you. Music is such an immediate and powerful experience that it becomes difficult to judge in objective terms.
        The guidelines are indeed present at DMU, and are based on experience, which is good. But they should not be considered objective – otherwise we end up as clones of DMU ourselves =)

      3. Rainer Weikusat says:

        Being trve. You were the mature teenager circa 1990 struggling with depression and drug use while telling everyone how much of a satanist you are.

        Do you at least notice that this “Stuff I hate!!1” concotion doesn’t make the least bit of sense?

        1. Disease says:

          I’ve absolutely no idea what you mean. Care to elaborate on the “stuff I hate !!1” concotion (sic)?

          1. Rainer Weikusat says:

            Considering that auto-correction software is readily available nowadays, and will immediately suggest concoction (try this with Google if you don’t believe it), typos are puny soapboxes. As to the content: People with depression don’t run around bragging despite other people who do run around bragging whenever their self is sufficiently powdered-up (that’s not a typo) suffer bouts of depression in the aftermath of the acute poisoning.

            1. Disease says:

              Right, I see your point and I agree. Thought I should clarify, I wasn’t necessarily pointing the earlier comment towards anyone, just a retrospective observation on the fad that was “being true” besides actual music. While I thought it was fairly obvious, I suppose sarcasm isn’t for everyone. Had the same initial thought behind it that you point out in your later post.

              1. Sarcasm translates poorly.

    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

      Authenticity is a bit of a weird concept because everything is authentically itself. “Being a true” is incomplete as the adjective needs something it’s supposed to qualify. So, a true what?

      1. It’s a simple concept.
        It’s about truly being what you appear as. A poser is naturally a true poser, but he is not a true metalhead.

        1. Gil Grimore says:

          “It’s a simple concept that I can only explain using an ambiguous aphorism.”

          1. C.M. says:

            I think he’s drawing a distinction between how one presents themself to others and their character, character being “how one acts when no one is around”. If their is a discrepancy between the way you present yourself and your character, then you are false, because your persona is not indicative of your true self.

            1. C.M. says:

              “There”, even.

        2. Rainer Weikusat says:

          The »canonical« definition is a bit more complicated: It’s about mimicking the appearance, eg, dressing style, of members of a certain group in order to pass as one upon superficial examination, but without sharing/ caring for the (shared) core values of these members. But while this may sound simple, that’s an extremely difficult concept in practice. Eg, there’s a ‘classical’ Dead lament

          Some imagine for some weird reason that death metal is something normal and available for everyone. Unfortunately they are right… If you have seen pictures of bands like DEFECTION, BENEDICTION or RIGHTEOUS PIGS etc. you know what I mean. If you go into an ordinary school, you will surly see half of them wearing MORBID ANGEL, AUTOPSY and ENTOMBED shirts […] Death black metal is something all ordinary mortals should fear, not make into a trend! Some years ago it did not exist at all. When MORBID had it’s first gigs almost no one had heard that kind of music before. METALLICA or VENOM… […] I hope it won’t take long before they leave death metal to us who do not choose music after fashion.

          But it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the opposite standpoint, ie, those of the members of the group criticized above. This could be something like “Why’s that weirdo nerd dressing like us? Does he believe posing as Real Badass[tm] will help him to get one of our chicks?” and the women referred to as such likely won’t even question this. I suspect this viewpoint is even more prevalent today because “groups of alienated metalheads” simply don’t exist anymore (at least not in the general population): Some of the happy party people wear T-shirts of (usually ancient) metal bands. They’re certainly convinced that they are The Real Thing and anybody is clearly … and they probably wouldn’t appreciate attempts to talk about philosophy or musical aesthetics beyond Bad! And Loud! And Alcoholic!. Someone who cares about wimp-stuff like that must clearly be …

          That’s why I answered this with a counter-question: True to what?

          1. You can be a true beer metalhead.
            You can be a true Satanist.
            Any thing that you can be, you can be a true version of or a false version of.
            The true version is that thing. The false version appears to be that thing, but beyond appearance, is not.

            1. Any thing that you can be, you can be a true version of or a false version of.

              Sort of like how any statement can be lie or truth, but most people cannot tell the difference most of the time.

              1. I agree completely (apart from what most people are capable of, I’m not knowledgeable about that).
                But we must make sure to not forget that truth is not binary. A statement that is not entirely true can still be more true than an other statement.

                For example, to believe that our planet is a perfect sphere is closer to truth, or “more true” than to believe that it is a flat disc.

            2. Rainer Weikusat says:

              Any thing that you can be, you can be a true version of or a false version of.

              No, I cannot. And neither can you nor anybody else. You’ll always truly be what you are. And other people will always believe you’re truly what they like to dress you as because that’s most useful and/ or least discomfortable to them. People don’t like being confronted with unfamiliarity because that’s scary. But that’s a tangent.

              The guy who posted the original question ought to come up with something he considers to be worthy to be true to. Then, others could reply with an opinion about that. Eg, I’d rather have a »true&laquo proponent of the idea that washing is unneccessary become lax in his principles and take a shower than being forced to queue behind him at a supermarket counter, »trueness« notwithstanding. OTOH, I’d expect someone with an Orbituary patch to have an opinion on “John Tardy is a wuss because he uses a harmonizer” that’s a bit more heart-felt than “WTF?”

              1. trueposersaretrue says:

                My question was: what does –>DMU<– think about the idea of being 'true' in black metal – as defined by Euronymous and as disparaged by Varg (apparently).

                I personally don't care about 'true' whatever, I care if the music is good. OK, so maybe I'll say 'this is TRUE black metal, YEAH!' if it's good music.

                1. The idea of trueness — faithfulness to the original ideas — is great. However, Euronymous was using it in a different way in part, which irritated Varg.

                  I suggest we just call the true black metal “black metal,” and everything else a hybrid or (my favorite) “death rock.”

                2. Rainer Weikusat says:

                  My question was: what does –>DMU<– think about the idea of being 'true' in black metal – as defined by Euronymous and as disparaged by Varg (apparently).

                  That’s difficult territory because published statements by Asareth differ wildly and also because interviews are always at least also meant to market something, IOW, the interviewed guy doesn’t tell it how it is but how he’d like it to be seen wrt selling some stuff, be this only himself (‘reputation’). In addition to this, Vikernes statements of the past differ from his statements of today (or are at least somewhat inconsistent with them) and disagree with other sources regarding the same events/ situtations. Also, he’s nowadays opposed to metal, basically regarding this as individually irrelevant part of the non-European-but-African pop culture while he wasn’t or at least didn’t do this in earlier times.

                  The verbal content of some statements has to be taken with a grain of salt, eg, We wanna scare those shouldn’t be at our concerts, and they will have to escape through the emergency exit with parts of their body missing, so we can have something to throw around. from the guy who »wanted to make evil music for evil people« is obviously a joke for people with a macabre sense of humour and the same guy probably hadn’t appreciated of Attila Csihar’s “oral sex with a pig’s head” antics and One lucky teenage fan has secured a trophy. Girls surround the tall, handsome youth, cooing at the pig’s head that hangs his side events (Guardian, 2005).

                  The most coherent Euronymous statement about this I could find is

                  I sign only the best bands in the world, in my opinion. I WILL NEVER sign a band which exists because of a trend. All the DSP bands will be something special. Most of the labels just spread around a lot of mass produced shit, but we will stand above all that. When people buy a DSP release they will know they buy a ultimate in blackness and quality, with only bands who believe 100% in what they write,


                  That’s rather different from Vikernes’ “raising the bar in order to keep others out” theory. I like the attitude (keep in mind that this is a guy marketing his own label) because I expect musicians (or artists in general) to present topics they care about because they care about them, not because a particularly style is currently fashionable, as the results of the latter tend be shallow/ superficial, and also use a style which fits their topics, eg, a death metal band writing songs about football doesn’t make much sense (this extends to Troglydote — they sound like a parody because they are a parody and this “for fun” attitude is also something I don’t like).

                  1. trueposersarestilltrue says:

                    OMFG, this Troglodyte band is so friggin BAAD !

                    First up, I agree 100% with Brett’s definition trueness as being faithful to the old ideas or spirit. Then again, it wasn’t so easy to figure what this spirit was in the first place.

                    But yeah, it’s a bit complicated as new info emerges because, in spite of Varg’s hatred for Euronymous, it was this guy that came up with the whole concept of black metal (and Varg himself talks relevantly about the episode when Darkthrone get criticized after making Soulside Journey). So my guess is that Euronymous came up with the aesthetics and some ideas for black metal, but he was sort of a dick about it and started patronizing everyone. Meanwhile more competent (Darkthrone) and creative (Burzum) artists started releasing some of the greatest black metal music ever – and didn’t care much about other bands imitating them, at least not in the interviews from what I remember – while Mayhem were still working on their debut and Euronymous was still busy being an asshole.

                    Now, we could go on about what the ideas and spirit that is true to black metal really are, but this is a vast subject.

              2. Orbituary

                Interesting mash-up. “Chopped in…” (outer space sounds).

              3. “You’ll always truly be what you are.”

                Of course. I said this.
                And like I said, you can be a true poser. A true impersonator.
                An actor is a true actor; he is not truly the character who he portrays. He is only truly portraying that character.

                1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                  In a previous life, I used to translate W.A.S.P (the band) as “We are silly posers”. But while the accurately reflected by disdain of people who went to in my opinion absurd lengths in order to project a certain outside image of themselves, it wasn’t really appropriate: I’m sure they (and people with a similar mindset) never wrongly claimed that they were trying appear as something other than people who go to great lengths in order to project a certain image of themselves.

  4. Substandard Musician says:

    I’m glad this site acknowledges nuances like Varg’s humour. On that basis alone, sites like Metal Injection would react like beached whales.
    “Where’s the market?” or “How can we sell this?” are typical of what they would ask, no doubt.

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