Burzum: Fallen

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Burzum: Fallen
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Burzum: Fallen
Ambient Black Metal
Candlelight Records
April 5th, 2011
Release length: 47:46
Website
There’s few bands in the Metal world that have the same kind of sinister notariety that happen to lurk outside the Black Metal universe. Even within that confines of the Black Metal world, there’s still not that many who have achieved such infamous levels as some of the pioneering acts. Burzum is one of these acts, with a chapter of that infamous history having recently closed with the release of Varg Vikernes from prison. This heralded a new Burzum release shortly after in 2010, entitled Belus. Roughly a year after that long awaited new release, Burzum issues their eigth studio album, Fallen, taking on the form of early Burzum with a more dark and sinister vibe coupled with a modern day production quality.

The only rather ambient piece on this recording is the introductory track, “Fra Verdenstreet”, which has a low mombling against a gradually increasing in volume louder white noise element with drops of water that sound like they are falling from a cave into a puddle in the background of that effect. Other then that, Fallen seems to follow the earlier Burzum material, but at the same time holds a more modern production to it with an often more sinister or epic feel to the music. “Jeg Faller” kick starts the album off with some fantastic faster paced old-school Black Metal riffs, and it carries on throughout the album until the band throws it towards a somewhat melodic piece that feels more like a somber epic moment in the recording. The clean vocals that appear in the chorus of this song, as well as many others of this release, work so well to capture that dark vibe and enhance the more melodic and epic aspect of the song, but are very soothing at the same time, being impressive enough to make the listener almost start singing or chanting right along with them after hearing the chorus one time, maybe two. The song features plenty of variety in this since because of those changes in the sound and atmosphere, but after that first chorus the song even goes into a much slower and almost dismal feel with a whispered spoken word passage that appears continuously through this part. It’s this sort of unique approach to the music, as well as these unique and smooth transitions in the group’s sound that makes this song seem to fly by, even though it lasts nearly eight minutes.

The vocals here are also worth taking note of. While the range is quite impressive, for the most part they are performed in a somber manner, almost as preparing for his own demise. Even the rhaspier traditional Black Metal vocals here feel that way, being a much lower volume most of the time, as if they are the whispered version of the style without actually have whispered them. Of course there are times where Varg is not afraid to belt out some louder, more intimidating tones when necessary. Sometimes even the music can reflect that atmosphere, when is the case with “Valen”. While “Jeg Faller” had a stronger, more sinister vibe to it, “Valen” feels more reflective and calming, almost an acceptance kind of atmosphere, while still being rather dark and cold. One of the more interesting aspects of this release is on “Vanvidd”. The chorus to this song has a loud bass performance during some parts of the song, such as a bridge near the end that goes on for quite some time before it transitions to the regular song again. It’s a bit repetitive, but the main thing that is intriguing bout it is how the bass is performed to sound like humming against what sounds liek a lower vocal performance hidden way in the back behind that bass.

Burzum does take it a bit too far with “Budstikken”, however. That softer but dark and cold musical approach is continued through much of the album, but this song really takes it to a level that leaves the song feeling a little unimpressive. The vocals feel more like mumbling, being spoken most of the time and so low into the music that half the time you can barely hear them, though it’s not the first time this happens since they appear like this on “Vanvidd” as well, but definitely the only time you can’t really hear them, or even notice that someone is singing in the first place. The music also goes at a much slower pace then other songs, and doesn’t necessarily have much technicality going on, coming off already and enjoyable, but nowhere near as strong as the other tracks on here. All of this causes the song to feel like it’s dragging on and become somewhat bland and boring. Even the closing instrumental isn’t all that impressive sadly, as it is mostly just a ritualistic-sounding drum pattern against guitars that give off an Egyptian vibe. Eventually the drums fade and it’s just the instrument against some spoken words that are low, whispered and echoed, giving off the vibe of perhaps egyptian spirits talking, eventually all fading with the ritual drums kicking back in again for the closing of the song, which winds up feeling like overkill, especially when they just fade out as quick as they do and go right into an off-tuned acoustic guitar that at times sounds obnoxiously loud.

In the end, Fallen is yet another fantastic Burzum release. It’s clear that not all the Ambient tendencies that Varg had on some of the group’s more recent material are gone, but much of it is replaced with solid, cold, atmospheric Black Metal the likes of which we’ve all come to expect from Burzum. It’s great to hear another album so quickly from Varg, especially one that doesn’t feel rushed in any way. Sadly, not every song on here is a winner, with the last two tracks feeling drawn out to the point of overkill, but for Burzum‘s loyal fans, this album couldn’t have come any quicker. For new fans, it’s also the perfect jumping on point, so why not take the time and explore Fallen by Burzum next time you’re out CD shopping? It’s ell worth the experience.

01. Fra Verdenstreet – 1:04
02. Jeg Faller – 7:51
03. Valen – 9:22
04. Vanvidd – 7:07
05. Enhver til Sitt – 6:16
06. Budstikken – 10:10
07. Til Hel og Tilbake Igjen – 5:58
Overall Score: 9/10
Burzum (Band)
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Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records.