I'm sure everyone knows the story of Varg Vikernes and Mayhem. If not, I'll give you a quick version. Varg Vikernes joins the Black Metal band Mayhem as bassist. While with the band, Varg and Euronymous don't exactly get along, and finally, Varg goes up to Euronymous' apartment at night and stabs him 23 times in the back and neck. I guess it was found out later that one main motive for Varg killing the Mayhem guitarist was because of a debt of money Euronymous hadn't paid back.
On with the album. Let me tell you, this is NOT normal Black Metal. This is probably one of the most beautiful and epic recordings I have ever heard. Its hard to believe a man so hateful and blindingly racist could create this masterpiece. The album itself is only 4 songs long, but overall, is around 45 minutes. Each song is different, and seems to portray a different emotion.
The first song, Det Som En Gang Var, begins with a very distorted guitar playing a single note under chilling synths. Just the first 10 seconds of this album tells you you're in for a very strange album. I interpret this song about perhaps revenge, or sadness. The drums kick in later, and a new riff is used. This has an almost thrash feel to it. Then his vocals come it. This is the first time I'd ever heard Varg's vocals, so I didn't know what to expect. First of all, let me say he has a very unique style. Its like a very raspy yell, yet its controlled. Some think he is the best BM vocalist ever; some hate it. Its personal taste I guess. Either way, you can hear the emotion in his vocals quite clearly. This has one of the coolest "solos" I've heard. Its just tremolo picking of a simple 3-note progression, but it fits so well. After this, the song takes on a very dark tone, and then changes once more, then ends.
The title track, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, begins much faster than its predecessor. Drums and distorted guitar start off immediately. The riff goes on for a while, then vocals come in. There isn't much else to say about this song; its basically the same thing over and over. However, it still is a good song, and is good to listen to. Not the best though.
The next song starts off much like the last one. This is probably the fastest song on the album. About halfway through, the drums stop, and guitar and bass play a slow, dark riff alone. After a while the drums kick in, and a cool solo-like line is played under the track, and fades off......
.....into Tomhet. This track starts off with a lone keyboard, playing a simple yet melodic line over and over. Just below it, you can faintly hear a bass-drum, and it simulates the beating of a heart. I thought that was pretty cool. A high-pitched synth line plays over the current one, and gives it a very dark, creepy feeling. This is THE atmospherical song. Its almost hypnotic, and you can almost physically feel the emotion. Suddenly, the high synth part drops out, leaving the beginning line to play alone. This, then, drops out onto an undertone, then harmonic parts play over it. This is the most desolate, almost depressing song I have ever heard. It makes you actually feel alone, completely isolated from everything else. Undoubtedly he was inspired by his prison cell for this. Suddenly, another high-pitched synth plays over. It sounds almost like a flute, or some other wind-blown instrument. Still, the heart-beat drums continue. This goes on for a while, over and over. Then it ends, leaving the undertone, which eventually faded out itself.
This album is a very dark and lonely look inside Varg Vikernes' mind. The first track conveys probably hate, despair, revenge. The 2 middle tracks are very BM-ish, representing hate. The final track, however, is a very somber track. To me, it is the emotion of someone just giving up; accepting his/her fate. I strongly recomend this album to anyone wanting to listen to some very strange, yet hauntingly beautiful music. It needs to be listened in its entirety, however. Single tracks don't capture its message. Overall, I give this album 5/5. Very, very nice job, Varg. I'm definetely going to get more Burzum material, and I suggest you all do, too.