Burzum
Belus


3.0
good

Review

by Motiv3 USER (8 Reviews)
March 7th, 2010 | 311 replies | 28,317 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Burzum of 2010 is one of progression and regression.

7 of 9 thought this review was well written

Belus is the first album from Burzum since Varg Vikernes was released from prison last year and the first black metal album recorded and produced by Burzum in around 17 years. Promising to deliver a ‘genuine’ Burzum album and a true indication of where Burzum would be heading with future endeavours, the main question apart from whether this album would be a success or not, is how much would Vikernes actually evolve, alter and change his sound which was so successful in the early 90’s?

The fact remains is that the Burzum of 2010 was always going to be different from the Burzum of the late 1990's that produced the now classic album Hvis Lyset Tar Oss but Belus as an album shows signs of both progression and regression. For the majority of the album Vikernes sticks to his traditional black metal tremolo riff picking that we have come to know from him since his time before his prison sentence which has not changed much at all since his debut self-titled album, the production? Still much in the vein of previous work, perhaps closer to Det Som Engang Var than any other of his previous albums without the distinct amount of atmosphere. Despite this however, Belus is an album which shows the signs of a Burzum that has evolved in sound and progressed just like many expected.

The first thing that is noticeable is that there is distinct lack of ambience which hinders the album. Near enough from the beginning of the albums announcement it was known the ambience would take the back seat and that the album was going to be heavily riff based but apart from the opening and the closing track, there is little to no ambience used at all in this album. This fact does produce a number of positive and negative attributes, the first obvious one is that this leaves no chance of Vikernes going overboard and producing another 25 minutes worth of snooze worthy ambience. However, at the same time, the lack of ambience and atmosphere does take out a unique Burzum edge which helped make many of his albums so successful. For example, songs like Glemselens Elv and Morgenrøde drag on for far too long and leave the listener waiting patiently bored to hear if anything interesting is going to be done. Now whilst it’s known that Vikernes work has been based off a lot of repetition, there are two distinct factors which allowed him to use 3 to 4 riffs maximum in a 10 + minute song which made the songs work. The first being the ambience and atmosphere Vikernes was able to create, putting the listener in a trance like state and the second being Varg’s incredibly unique, hateful and emotional vocals which were one of the if not the best black metal vocals ever to be produced because they were so honest and true that you could believe every word he was screaming to be what he truly believed.

Fast forward 17 years and what you have is a vocal performance which isn’t bad, technically no worse than any other black metal vocalist and solid as ever but one which loses that unique edge in which Vikernes was able to bring. For any other black metal artist/band this is fine, but when you’re dealing with Burzum, you can’t help but feel disappointed that Varg’s vocals have essentially become like any other black metal vocalist you would hear. If you take out them two elements what you are left with is a few songs which are 8+ minutes of hearing the same two to three riffs over and over with no redeeming qualities. Not even the surprising use of clean vocals are enough to save the longer songs which start off promising for the first 2-3 minutes to become ultimately boring, lacklustre and even uninspiring.

However when you listen to the shorter songs off the album, Belus is not an ultimate failure. When the album tracks are around the 2-6 minute mark they are at perfect length to expose all of Vikernes’s song writing ability without becoming too overdrawn. Ultimately also, it’s the shorter songs which display the new added elements to Burzum’s sound. There is a no more perfect example of this than the opening track and best song off the album Belus' død . Whilst it does start off with the classic Burzum like tremolo riff picking, later on we see the new characteristics of Burzum, firstly displaying the murky clean vocals at 1:19 and a lot of underlining melody underneath the traditional black metal riffs which takes the lead around the 3:30 mark, a very un-Burzum like attribute.

The amount of melody is perhaps the most surprising new implement in Belus, a man like Vikernes, known for raw black metal riffs coated with murky and bleak atmosphere in the past using this amount of melody is not something you would think was possible in the past. Then again, this is 2010, the black metal scene has certainly changed since then and Varg seems to be changing a little with it. What is clear is that Varg has had some time to develop his guitar skills and riff making as he has come up with some riffs and melodies which I thought he wasn't capable of, seeing as his riffs always seem to go down the simplistic black metal route. Having said that, it doesn’t always work, whilst in the opening track, the underlining melodies work like a charm, when they take the lead in the short track Sverddans it comes off nothing short of ridiculous, but does again show signs of experimentation with Burzum’s sound.

Overall, Belus is ultimately not a bad album, it’s not a failure by any means, Varg said he was going to produce a ‘genuine’ Burzum album, something in which if we assume is a black metal album is a success. However, despite not being a failure, this is album not a great album nor is it a successful one. But with the little time in which Varg had produced this album there is hope that in the future when given more time he will have the ability to once again produce an album relatively close to his older work.



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user ratings (454)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Systemunfolded (4)
You're late...

GentleAvacado (4.5)
Belus deserves to be known as one of Burzum's best, with some of his most brutal, well crafted songs...

B R A N D O N S C O T T (3.5)
Expected to be a large disappointment, Belus proves that Varg Vikernes is still relevant within the ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Motiv3
March 7th 2010



8923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

time over here is 00:05 in March 8th so technically this is review is on the release date. Also first review ive done in a while and i figured i did too many 4.5/5 reviews so decided to do something different. Feedback, comments, criticisms welcome. Going to bed soon.

Digging: Punch - They Don?t Have To Believe

Hawks
March 7th 2010



35603 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Good review dude. Album is good and that's about it.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

BallsToTheWall
March 7th 2010



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. Album was better than expected.

Countess
March 7th 2010



818 Comments


so sounds like we'll be looking forward to the NEXT Burzum album.
good review btw

Motiv3
March 7th 2010



8923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

thanks dudes.

demon of surveillance
March 7th 2010



816 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Where can the album be listened to in its entirety?

Digging: Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow

Motiv3
March 7th 2010



8923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

depending where u live its available to buy today or tommorrow. Or u can find it on mediafire, megaupload, rapidshare etc. It leaked weeks ago.

qwe3
March 7th 2010



21355 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

yeah i thought this would suck so much. this had so many good riffs. but he repeated them sooo many times.

Piglet
March 7th 2010



4653 Comments


Looks like an okay album

Motiv3
March 7th 2010



8923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I wasn't sure what to expect tbh.

TheSpirit
March 7th 2010



17719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review... I have one typed up a 3.5 a few nights ago but I dontnknow ill post it now that you've done so already

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Better than I expected

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Motiv3
March 7th 2010



8923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

haha i dont mind either way, just wanted to get back into reviewing.

Mags172
March 7th 2010



127 Comments


Not sure if i'm completely looking forward to listening to this, but I will.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



17204 Comments


shit.

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 7th 2010



4459 Comments


instead of saying "a progression and a regression" you can just say "remains stagnate" or neutral or it hints at either way. Your phrasing sounds odd. Also, need to fix this sentence:

The first thing that is noticeable is the distinct lack of ambience which has been used


You can't use a lack of something. Try something like, "There is a noticeable lack of ambience which hinders the album." Or something to that effect.

Motiv3
March 7th 2010



8923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

alright cheers bhoy, ill fix the sentence.

bloozclooz
March 7th 2010



1770 Comments


what'd he go to jail for? please tell me it was for blowing up a church. :D

qwe3
March 7th 2010



21355 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i think it was more for the murder of Euronymous

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



17204 Comments


that and stabbing a bandmate 27 times with a broken bottle



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