BURZUM - Fallen CD
Genre: Black Metal
Some times things just work themselves out the way you want them to. Case in point, last year after the release of Belus, Varg Vikernes first post prison BURZUM release, I read a few surprised views of it. It seemed like some people believed in the pre-release rumors or conjured up ones of their own imagination and were disappointed that they came out to be untrue. I understand no one believes press releases, I don't put much stock in them, but still the pre-release info all turned out to be true. Some of the better rumors were that Varg was going to do House/Techno music, another one was that he had given up on Metal and was going totally ambient. Obviously none of that was the case and Belus was a pretty good release, although some people still expected more. I use the words "some people" but I should be more specific and say people who are clueless about BURZUM. I mean people who learned everything they know about Varg Vikernes from the book, Lords of Chaos. Sure long time fans of Vikernes were not overly blown away by Belus but still they had good things to say about it. It was those "other people" who were totally disappointed. They were expecting hell fire, church burnings, white supremacism and scene drama. They were expecting anything that could be construed as faux evil in order for them say "hey I got the new BURZUM CD, touch me I'm hip."
Well if the style crowd hated Belus, and are now running to the next hip culture flavor of the month artist, then they would certainly despise Fallen. As for me well after half a dozen plays I say it lives up to all of the pre-release info which was put out a few weeks ago by Plastic Head the distributor of Byelobog Productions. After the obligatory ambient intro "Fra Verdenstreet" the meat of Fallen gets busy with "Jeg Faller". The pre-release press mentioned that Fallen was some what inspired by Varg's early BURZUM material. After listening to "Jeg Faller" you might want to re-define "inspired" as recycled riffs. After two minutes of frantic tremolo picking the melodic chorus kicks in which gives it that pagan folk Nordic feel. Afterwards Varg starts whispering around the repetitive riff with the chorus returning till the end then Black Metal Varg introduces himself but not long enough. "Valen" is what I'd call an epic track and once again sounding more like pagan folk than black metal. Varg utilizes everything in his singing style's bag whether it's clean vocals, his aged harsh rasp and the whispers. The song progresses along with a machine like quality riff for a little over nine minutes. In the past the thought of pulling out some match sticks while listening to BURZUM had a totally different meaning. Nowadays you need them to hold your eyelids open. Thankfully the next cut "Vanvidd" does conjure up memories of old school Varg with some raw BM riffs that sound as if they could have come from Det Som Engan Var.
"Enhver Til Sitt" is another great track which carries this eerie doom sound. It's not depressive or scary but it just has a haunting feel to it which unsettles especially if you were to listen to it in the dark. This song represents the different dynamic from the more progressive sounding Belus. The vocals are harsh and sound vengeful with the added whispers foreboding. After listening to this I wanna hand Varg a Dr. Seuss book and see what he could do with it. It would probably turn a classroom of kids pale white with fear. I admit my sick twisted fantasies are worse then the music I listen to but what the hell. "Budstikken" sounds like something which could have appeared on Belus. It starts out rockin (Varg n Roll?) and then moves into a more ambient structure. The pattern repeats itself throughout but it's not boring at all. I chalk that up to the guitar tone of the strummed and picked riffs along with the variety of speeds. It's a great fuckin song which just holds you in it's grasp. The last cut "Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen" is another ambient/experimental track with Varg as shaman percussionist/folk instrumentalist and ghostly voice from beyond. I found it to be a sad way to end it all since the momentum of the previous tracks was so forceful.
Fallen starts off slowly but a quarter of the way in is where the excitement starts and I kinda like that. It's not the type of release for the superficial hip or hot (topic) crowd. Instead it's perfect for anyone who has followed this man's music career, not the other exploits, and has watched the mild progression from raw black metal to an pagan musical artist who still holds some intrigue. Translate the lyrics on some of these songs and you'll find them to be his personal outlook transcended to the philosophical. I started this review by saying some times things just work themselves out the way you want them to. I personally can't stand the the thrill seeking throng of sheeple who have jumped onto the black metal bandwagon. It's one thing to get into some decent music and assimilate into the scene as a whole. The sheeple don't but instead try to re-shape it into their own superficial fantasy which they will later toss away once their fascination subsides. Obviously Fallen wasn't created to chase them away but it will facilitate their exit sooner than later. For the rest of us, this eighth full length from BURZUM illustrates that the creative musical journey of Varg Vikernes is going to be a long and interesting one. Fallen is not a great release overall but it does have some incredibly good tracks on it which fans will gravitate to.