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*NEW Metal Bulletin #30*

Burzum's Varg Vikernes is a free man today.

What a creepy dude Varg Vikernes is. One of the most influential Norwegian black metal artists ever, it’s impossible to talk about his project, Burzum, without going into his murderous past. Vikernes gained infamy in the early 1990s for killing guitarist Øystein Aarseth and torching several churches. He’s a free man today after serving two decades in prison. Even more amazingly, his latest albums have been showered with critical praise.

Burzum is like the Roman Polanski of heavy music. He’s just as much a visionary as the notorious, Academy Award-winning director, but it’s damn hard to look past the maniac’s history and bigoted beliefs. Whether you can look past the person and appreciate the music is all on you.

Murder and church burnings are not metal. He’s produced some good music, but Burzum has done more damage to heavy metal’s reputation – especially the black metal subgenre – than perhaps anyone. Burzum is a shithead. We all know this.

It’s been 20 years since Burzum’s first album was released. At the time, there was nothing that sounded quite like the self-titled debut. It was purposefully rough – Burzum used the shittiest recording equipment he could find – but the rawness was the appeal. Burzum as rebelling against metal with good production values. This was when Metallica’s Black Album was in the charts. Metal had turned into something that soccer moms could enjoy.

After Burzum was thrown behind bars, he was forced to change his musical style. Dauði Baldrs, his first post-conviction release, was recorded using a synthesizer and an everyday tape recorder. The style is referred to as “dark ambient.” It’s definitely dark, but there’s really not much metal to it.

After being freed from prison, Burzum released a string of albums that earned critical acclaim. Critics noted in their reviews how tough it is separating the man from the music. The music’s certainly heavier than Burzum’s prison releases. Its product values are much higher than Burzum’s early work. The songs have this hypnotic quality to them that’s hard to describe.

What’s Burzum up to today? Still releasing new music. He’s only 39  - younger than some of the most popular metal musicians. He still has plenty of time to create a volume of music that may someday overshadow his disturbing life story. I haven’t kept up with his rhetoric lately, but I’m sure he’s still batshit. Umskiptar was released just a few weeks ago. The style is similar to his other recent albums.

Umskiptar  is out and the style is similar to his other recent albums. Check out “Hit helga Tre” below.




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