Review Summary: An unnecessary reboot of some of Burzum's best.
When Burzum announced that he would be re-recording a bunch of songs from his first two albums, people were skeptical. And, unfortunately, with good reason, because From the Depths of Darkness
has a problem: it's just totally unnecessary. The songs that Burzum has redone here are really not much better than their antecedents, and are in fact worse in a lot of ways.
The issue is that most of the changes Burzum did pursue make the new versions worse, not better. For one thing, the production is much cleaner on this album than the originals; granted, some may see that as a positive, however much of Burzum's appeal comes from the dark, hypnotizing atmosphere he creates, and that mood is simply not as poignant with such a clean mix. The vocals on From the Depths of Darkness
are also a letdown. Compared to the screeching, howling, gripping wails found on the original versions of these songs, Burzum's new more breathy, raspy, and less powerful voice just feels weak and dull. The album is also too long; because of the lacking atmosphere, it is very hard to listen to this sixty-two minute album in full. It doesn't pull you in, it leaves you uninterested. Furthermore, there are three new ambient songs on the album, the first two being twenty-five and forty-four seconds, respectively; far too short to leave much of an impact, and they leave you wondering what exactly the point of them is- especially since they are placed so close together in the track listing. As far as changes to the songwriting go, there really aren't any at all that I can distinguish, other than the speeding up and slowing down of some songs. One of the most egregious examples of this would track nine, "Key to the Gate," possibly my favourite Burzum track of all time- but on here, the song is sped up and it just doesn't work for me. The riffs are still great, but the combination of Varg's strained vocals and a feeling that is too hurried just make me want to listen to the inaugural version. (The extended outro was a nice touch, though... even if it is going twice as fast as the original.) Oh, and Varg totally destroys "Channeling the Power of Minds Into a New God," originally an ambient keyboard track from his self-titled debut album, now a boring guitar number which goes on for too long.
From the Depths of Darkness
just leaves the listener upset, but probably not in the way Burzum intended. Unfortunately, these new versions don't so much revitalize as they do deaden. The combination of new, more flaccid vocals, a (comparatively) clean production job, and a lack of much change anyway make the entire album feel unnecessary and somewhat pointless. Which it, sadly, is.