Burzum
Thulêan Mysteries


4.0
excellent

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
March 14th, 2020 | 509 replies


Release Date: 03/13/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 1991-2020

Thulêan Mysteries is more than just a record, it’s an emblematic assertion for Varg and one that puts music behind him forever, which by all accounts reflects the quality to some extent. Indeed, after nearly thirty years of infamy – seminal, genre-defining highs, post-prison lows, and middling dungeon-synth Pagan concepts and all – Varg is finally saying adieu to a pretty wild journey with music. Thulêan Mysteries should be a total disaster on paper, when you consider the context surrounding it, but somehow it manages to be one of the most consistent Burzum albums in recent memory. Pointing out the elephant in the room, this LP wasn’t made with paternal care, nor was it designed to go out with a celebratory bang, hearkening back to its roots; no, Thulêan Mysteries was simply made for the sake of emptying out Varg’s demo vault. Just by looking at how the album was promoted (a Twitter post being the extent of its promotion), it’s as though the album was made with complete indifference just so Varg could dispose of this chapter in his life. And yet, for all the fervent contention surrounding this man’s controversial rhetoric and ideologies, it can’t be understated that there’s always been a whimsical effortlessness to his music, whether he hits the mark every time or not, and Thulêan Mysteries is no exception.

So what is it? Well, this final entry is an expansive extension on from the dark-ambient explorations of his last two albums, so for those hoping for Varg to return to his frosty shrills and cutthroat guitar riffs, prepare to be disappointed. If, however, you’re looking for a continuation on from Sôl austan, Mâni vestan and The Ways of Yore’s neo-medieval sound and all its gloomy ambiences, there’s plenty for you to enjoy here. Despite the stigma that these were demos, there’s certainly improvements being made from the aforementioned albums, and it knuckles down on a really cohesive tone for its whopping ninety-minute journey. It’s a poignant, chilled out peregrination that, like previous entries, paints a vivid world for the listener to reside in. There’s nothing here you haven’t heard before today, but the delayed guitar chords, dull, thumping bass, and sweeping synth backdrops continue to keep the listener engaged. Its marriage with European instrumentation and abrasive electronics bring aesthetically pleasing results, and Varg’s acute ear for chord progression – namely on “The Road to Hel” – delivers intense, praiseworthy results. The likes of “The Road to Hel”, “Skin Traveller” and “The Sacred Well” emphasise Vikernes’ incredible talent for composing dense and moving ambient pieces, like the left-field “Tomhet” forged twenty-six years ago.

However, even when you factor in my complete surprise for the album, it still has glaring issues. At twenty-three tracks in length, it’s hard to overlook the fact Thulêan Mysteries has excess baggage – further adding to the narrative that Varg scraped every last note out of the barrel and dumped it into this swansong. Songs like “The Dream Land”, “The Password” and “A Thulêan Perspective” are far from bad, but there’s not much outside of the initial minute or so to hold up your interest. Then there’s the vocals which are far less distracting this time, granted, and less frequent than on The Ways of Yore, but they can still be a burden to the overall tone at times. The opening to “The Password” sends shivers of cringe into my body every time the song opens up, while “Heill Auk Sæll”’s chanting becomes extremely irritating after the half-minute mark. Then again, the narrator snippets for “The Land Of Thulê” are a godsend next to the only overtly awful vocal track here: “The Great Sleep”. “The Great Sleep”’s untameable wails and cracking melodies are an unfortunate mishap, but fortunately for us, they happen only once.

Overall though, I have to tip my hat here; considering how this album was being sold to us, it should have been a complacent mess – a barrage of incoherent ideas splashing into each other. Pondering over the whole thing now, it seems pretty obvious this stuff came out of the previous two albums’ writing sessions, and that’s probably why it gels together the way it does. The writing here is really well crafted, bar the on the nose Pagan lyrics and vocals, and for fans of this kind of genre, there’s little to dislike here. As far as last albums go, while it’s a far cry from the galvanised hatred of earlier works, it seems an appropriate end for Burzum when you look at the latter portion of his output, and bands have gone out far worse.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://www.plastichead.com/catalogue.aspx?ex=backlist&target=BURZUM




Recent reviews by this author
Lady Gaga ChromaticaParadise Lost Obsidian
Brian Reitzell Hannibal - Season 3 - Vol 1Eat the Day The Demos
Nine Inch Nails Ghosts VI: LocustsIn This Moment Mother
user ratings (102)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
absolute elitist park, hipster, purist, hater, tryhard etc. no fun allowed!! (0.5)
Subtle and understated, yet touching, heartfelt and inspiring. This glorious Meisterwerk will give y...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Zig
March 14th 2020


2087 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Surprisingly, sounds a bit like a soundtrack.

Digging: Alan Hovhaness - Mysterious Mountain; And God Created Great Whales

Pho3nix
March 14th 2020


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review +1, pretty much agree on all points except 'The Great Sleep' being awful :D I mean we got a lullaby song by Varg Vikernes, what more do you want? lol. But I'm also one of those people who really likes Umskiptar. With this one I feel I'll probably up my rating for it with further re-listens.



The album cover feels very nostalgic to me and it encapsulates the music quite well, perfect for those rainy autumn mornings or even while hiking in the forest. If you're into music while playing MMO's or RPG's this would suit it as well.



The most glaring issue would be that there's definitely a few recycled "riffs" from his two previous albums, you can hear just a hint of them here and there.





garas
March 14th 2020


4243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Excellent review as usual, boss. I'm glad it is reviewed already.

As you mentioned, the album has it sissues but all in all I was instantly hooked by the overall ambience and atmosphere.

Alastor
March 14th 2020


2135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Perfect review. I also didn't expect liking this as much as I do.



Why this 47-year-old-racist-prepper still speaks more to my soul with his music than any current artist I can not properly comprehend. The nostalgia is real.

Pikazilla
March 14th 2020


10989 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is pretty sweet, not gonna lie, but a lot of it does indeed feel recycled

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2020


16382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i appreciate the kind feedback guys. cheers.



"Why this 47-year-old-racist-prepper still speaks more to my soul with his music than any current artist I can not properly comprehend. The nostalgia is real."



this is something that perplexes me too. lol but what parksungjoon said earlier, that he's glad varg is done with music, it seems a massive waste to me. writing music is clearly varg's calling in life (despite his controversial personal life). he has that "it" factor and it seems a bit of a shame to see it permanently gone.

Digging: Paradise Lost - Obsidian

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2020


16382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

then again, even if he did continue writing music, with how much he's changed over the years, he'd never ascend his earlier works anyway so hey-ho

parksungjoon
March 14th 2020


19605 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5 | Sound Off

peaked with filosofem agreed

Digging: Nuclear Death - Bride of Insect

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2020


16382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[2]

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2020


25712 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I have still never found the energy to listen to a Burzum album start to finish, partially because black metal lol but mainly because the mythology of their release history is entertaining enough in itself. This looks about right to that end - nice rev! (although I feel like you could delete half the conjunctions and particles from that first sentence and have it read a tad sharper)

Digging: Everything But the Girl - Walking Wounded

garas
March 14th 2020


4243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"he has that "it" factor and it seems a bit of a shame to see it permanently gone."

This [2]. He is an... "odd" person (most sophistically), but he was born with great talent in music.

parksungjoon
March 14th 2020


19605 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5 | Sound Off

none of the stuff since filosofem has had any metal in it









id also posit the idea that none of the stuff since filosofem has been any good but

garas
March 14th 2020


4243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"id also posit the idea that none of the stuff since filosofem has been any good but"

Nah. Belus rules m/. But Hlidskjalf and Yore are outstanding ambient pieces too.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2020


25712 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

"none of the stuff since filosofem has had any metal in it"



Well yes, but having read up on the manga and fanfic I'd hardly start with non-metal Burzum lol

parksungjoon
March 14th 2020


19605 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5 | Sound Off

lol

Pikazilla
March 14th 2020


10989 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Start with the filler arc to get yourself prepared for the real deal

Pho3nix
March 14th 2020


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@JohnnyoftheWell



His debut isn't all that jarring of a listen, compared to Filosofem at least which might turn off a novice quickly. Just imagine you're in Middle Earth hiking and it'll set the mood.

DDDeftoneDDD
March 14th 2020


12071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Some songs are too short...ambient on some are very cool tho

Digging: Cirith Ungol - Forever Black

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
March 14th 2020


10768 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

If you’re going to write about this album, I think you need to avoid slipping around the issue of who Varg is with terms like “controversial” or “contention”. There’s no contention about who he is and the album reflects who he is very clearly.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2020


26646 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

shitty cash grab record, varg is a sell out



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy