It is a mystery to everyone in the world as to what Varg Vikernes will do with his life when he is finally released from prison. It is highly doubtful that he will revert back to his Black Metal days of the early 90’s, because it seems with each release since he’s been incarcerated the gap between Vikernes and Black Metal is growing ever larger. Varg has been quoted though saying he will most likely release one or two more Burzum
albums before throwing in the towel, and sinking into the black abyss never to be heard from again. I don’t blame the guy, he’s been through more than enough already, if he wants to be left alone that’s his choice, but what has to be realized is that he can create some of the most captivating Black Metal ever recorded. He’s released legendary albums such as Det Som Engang Var
and Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
, he’s carved his name in blood, literally, into Black Metal history. It’s hard to deny the genius of the guy, but at the same time it’s hard to prove the sanity of him.
My recent escapade to my second home (aka the local CD store) brought me looking for the classic Mayhem
. Well, I have been looking for a Burzum CD in stores for many months now, and this was my lucky day. I found, hidden in the back of the CD rack, a compilation of classic and previously unreleased Burzum
material entitled Draugen: Rarities
. As you can expect, everything else in my hands was dropped and I snagged my newest find with greed. The album had 13 tracks of songs from when Burzum
was at it’s finest. The track list contained the entire Aske
EP, the tracks from his demo entitled Demo 1991
, three songs from an unreleased EP called Svarte Dauen
, and one track each from Det Som Engang Var
, and Filosofem
. Also included on a DVD is the only Burzum
music video, “Dunkelheit”. That is a pretty impressive compilation if you ask me.
Forget track lists and all that nonsense; let’s talk about the music here. As you can expect, all of the songs were taken from when Varg Vikernes was churning out classic after classic of amazing Black Metal, nothing from his deranged, toy-piano using, prison-cell recorded ambient albums. The production on most of the album is just like anything you’ve heard from any Burzum
LP, which fits the ambience Varg was trying to get with his music. However, the one exception can be found on the four songs taken from Demo 1991
. Let me just say you can barely understand what is going on. The opening riff from “Lost Wisdom” sounds awesome on Det Som Engang Var
. On the Demo, it sounds like each instrument was recorded on, say, a cell phone video, and then combined together on a single disk which was then scratched beyond recognition. The guitar sounds from those four songs are distorted to the point where you can’t even hear the riffs. The drums are somewhere in the distant background, occasionally springing up in front of the guitars at random intervals throughout the song. I’m willing to forgive this appalling production simply because of its “Demo/Rehearsal” classification.
The rest of the album though, is top-notch stuff. The songs from the Aske
EP are amazing, especially the 10 minute song “A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit”. The guitars throughout the Aske
portion sound exactly like anything out of Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
or Det Som Engang Var
, creating some eerie melodies or some fast, crunching riffs. Drumming is surprisingly solid, keeping a great beat and adding to the heaviness of the album. On the unreleased songs from the album Svarte Dauen
the production is a little more static-filled, but you can hear what is going on in the songs almost all the time. The production values on this portion make Varg’s already evil vocals even better, making them seem more distant and far off, weaving in and out of the instruments, as shown on the fantastic track “Once Emperor”. The last three songs are simply lifted out of their respective LP’s, with the highlight song being the brilliant “Lost Wisdom”, with one of the best Burzum
riffs kicking it off in the beginning. Varg’s vocals throughout are something to marvel at, because he has such a unique voice it’s impossible to compare it to others. The way the screeches go along with the music is something many bands can only dream of accomplishing. So, hats off to Varg Vikernes for creating some of the best vocals Black Metal has ever seen.
is exactly the sort of thing that avid Burzum
fans such as myself are craving for as we wait for Varg to emerge from the darkness of prison. It contains some extremely hard to find material from way back when Varg was still making Black Metal. Whether he resumes his fabled career when he is released is a mystery only Varg knows the answer to, but for now all I can do is listen to Draugen: Rarities
and hope with all my heart that Vikernes will find Black Metal inspiration again, someday…
+ Classic Burzum Material
+ Varg’s Vocals
+ Some Haunting Guitar Riffs
+ Songs From Rare And Unreleased Albums
+ Finally Some Burzum Stuff Which Isn’t Ambient
- Production On Some Of The Songs Is Almost Un-listenable
- We May Never Hear Music Like This Again….