Burzum
Filosofem


4.0
excellent

Review

by alecto USER (3 Reviews)
August 12th, 2009 | 32 replies | 5,869 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cold, dark and evil, this album is what the Norwegian black metal scene was about. True, it could have been done a bit better, but it's still good enough for us to stop talking about it and start enjoying it.

Ok, this is my first review, so... Have no mercy :)

Filosofem is the last album Varg Vikernes recorded as a one man project- Burzum before his imprisonment. Since Sputnik Music is a web site dedicated to music and not an online history encyclopaedia I'm going to concentrate on Vargs music rather than on his law breaking endeavours.

The first thing you will notice about Filosofem is it's horrific production, even for black metal standards. On the earlier albums the production was bad because Varg opted not to enhance it due to his view that his music is a valid representation of himself with all of it's mistakes and because he was opposed to all the "trendy" death metal bands (ok, forgive the man, he was only a teenager) which went after specific brands of instruments and equipment. But on Filosofem he intentionally worsened the sound by plugging his guitar in a stereo instead of an amp and adding the inevitable fuzz pedal. Instead of a classic microphone he used the worst one the sound technician had and that was the one from a headset. And crazy as it sounds, that choice instead of ruining the album rendering it unlistenable, gave it a specific sound which matches perfectly with the atmosphere of the music. While the albums Burzum and Det Som En Gang Var had a more plain and simple sound, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss a kind of hypnotic ambiental groove to it mixed with black metal, Filosofem sounds like the essence of pure evil. The first three songs- Burzum, Jesu Dod and Beholding the Daughters Of The Firmament all rip through your eardrums with viciousness. Burzum displays the only clean vocals of the albums mixed with the aforementioned haunting screams with the amp+fuzz efect giutar just adding up to the effect and blending everything together into a sound guaranteed to haunt you for days to come. The consistency is on the level on the next two songs so there is no problem there. Also, the last track-Decrepitude II is a solid instrumental with an interesting, you could even say "Vargish" keyboard playing over the guitar in the background, simple but effective.

Unfortunately, the bar was set too high for the two remaining tracks.
Decrepitude I is just awfully uninspired and boring despite my efforts to find out if it sinks in after the tenth listen. Well it doesn't and it is a solid candidate for the worst Burzum pre-jail track. Rundtgåing Av Den Transcendentale Egenbetens Stötte is basically a couple of notes played over and over and over (you get the point) again for a good twenty and so minutes leaving the listener waiting for some radical or, hell, even a subtle change in the song enhancing the feeling of escalation or even loneliness, but the magic is gone after the first listening leaving us with no wish to put the track on repeat. The (unused) effect of surprise is just gone.

All in all Filosofem is a great album, although with a couple of flaws, but with a distinctive and specific sound and intensive feeling of fear and subtle agression to itself. Another one of Vargs classics having it's name written in the pages of metal history.


user ratings (945)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Nash J. CONTRIBUTOR (4)
"Beware of the light, it may take you away, to where no evil dwells. It will take you away...for all...

The Human Language (5)
An unlikely but exquisite realization of the surprising potential of the electric fluid in the rendi...

Kalle J. (4.5)
Filosofem channels emotion through a raw and beautifully simple compilation of ambient black metal....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
August 12th 2009



15908 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good first review, but I have to agree with Countorus about getting rid of that opening line.

I've never listened to this band, and would probably hate it.

alecto
August 12th 2009



9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feedback but the intro line stays yeah, it's corny and useless but I kinda like it. In a couple of years it will crack me up.

Fugue
August 12th 2009



7352 Comments


Needs a little going over with the spelling and grammar, but other than that this is a good first review. Most of this album is better than Hvis Lysett Tar Oss IMO.

Edit: In all honesty its only a couple of mistakes so I'll point them out and save you the trouble.

Firstly you consistently spell the album name with a "z" instead of the "s". I'm not quite sure if this is a problem or not, but on the album cover it is spelt with an "s".
About halfway through the second paragraph you spelt "essence" wrong.
Also your quotation marks are a little strange, again I'm not sure why they have come out like that.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound anal, I'm just trying to help.

FadeToBlack
August 12th 2009



10913 Comments


even say Vargish“ keyboard playing over the guitar in the background, simple but effective.
Need to edit out that strange subscript quotation mark

OllieS
August 12th 2009



2030 Comments


"Filozofem is the last album Varg Vikernes recorded as a one man project- Burzum before his imprisonment. Since Sputnik Music is a web site dedicated to music and not an online history encyclopaedia I'm going to concentrate on Vargs music rather than on his law breaking endeavours." - unnecessary paragraph. Good review though.

Lunarfall
August 12th 2009



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hvis Lysett Tar Oss is better

alecto
August 12th 2009



9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@mutatedfreak-not sounding anal at all, every help is welcome...I'm gonna correct it all...and the quotations are like that cos I wrote the review in the new MS office an c-p'd it...
@OllieS- kind of an intro, really...I could've wrote the whole damn saga of Varg but that wouldn't make any sense :D
@hey143- I know :P

BillEco
August 12th 2009



67 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I put the 25 min mosnter track on repeat once (or twice). So that's like 50 mins of a few notes repeated. It has a weird effect after some time.

The decrepitudes have to be my least favorite Burzum songs

Hawks
August 12th 2009



35553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good first review. Album slays.

Digging: Sun Worship - Elder Giants

illmitch
August 12th 2009



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah pretty good first review. normally you shouldn't give an album a 4 when you find tracks on it uninspired, but the strength of the first four tracks on this makes it different. oh and

The first thing you will notice about Filosofem is it's horrific production, even for black metal standards.


should be its

and tbh i dont think this is all that horrific by black metal standards

Zip
August 12th 2009



5312 Comments


NO MERCY FOR YOU!

lol, Burzum, horrific.

illmitch
August 12th 2009



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Burzum, horrific


fail

Hawks
August 12th 2009



35553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree Illmitch. Theres plenty of black metal albums with worse production.

illmitch
August 12th 2009



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i can see how you could think this has bad production if youre used to like dark funeral later immortal and other overproduced black metal

but like listen to some ildjarn or moonblood or all the LLN bands and yeah

Hawks
August 12th 2009



35553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Ildjarn has the worst production I've ever heard probably. I've always wanted to get into Moonblood, but I can never find any of their shit.

illmitch
August 12th 2009



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you mean in CD form? im pretty sure almost none of their stuff was even released on CD, and even the stuff that was only had like 666 copies. you can find their stuff on p2p sites or blog searches fairly easily though. i recommend Blut und Krieg.

Hawks
August 12th 2009



35553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you mean in CD form? im pretty sure almost none of their stuff was even released on CD, and even the stuff that was only had like 666 copies. you can find their stuff on p2p sites or blog searches fairly easily though. i recommend Blut und Krieg.

No I'm talking about downloads. I know there's no way I'd be able to find anything in CD form. I guess I'll have to look harder on the blogs and shit.

lostforwords
August 12th 2009



445 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Black metal wasn't supposed to have good productions, according to Varg (and Euronymous and Fenriz and and and...)

FadeToBlack
August 12th 2009



10913 Comments


who adopted that policy based on Bathory/Celtic Frost recordings.

Lunarfall
August 12th 2009



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and both of them didnt do it bad on purpose



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