Friday, May 13, 2011

Burzum - Fallen (2011)

Burzum is only one of few bands that can really pull off the low budget sound recordings when putting out an album in today's hi-tech world. "Fallen," the 8th studio album, is a well written and well performed piece of black metal art however be prepared for the lack of quality in the recording. Some bass lines and guitar riffs are hard to pick out especial over the violent vocals and drumming in specific parts. The good thing that this quality has to offer is that the guitars sound more evil and more screechy than most recordings now-a-days. This fits well for the fact that it is black metal and evil and screechy is what black metal fans look for. And for those of you who are not familiar with Burzum, Varg Vikernes is the only member of the band. He did everything from writing to recording and even producing "Fallen" and most of his earlier work as well.

The album contains more of an ambient sound as you'll hear in certain tracks. The intro, "Fra Verdenstreet," creates a dark sinful image as it is filled with eerie sounds and ghostly whispers. "Jeg Faller" is the following track that runs just under 8 minutes. The opening verse is pummeled by venomous growling and deathly guitar riffs played in between. The refrain is melodic and memorable as Vikernes clean vocals sing in a low key. It will have you humming along instantly. Others verses include eerie lyrics which are delivered in a satanic like voice. Punchy bass lines fill gaps between the chorus and provide poisonous beauty to the song.

Depressive guitar riffs consume the atmosphere in "Valen." The use of growling and gloomy clean vocals combined during the refrain gives off an emotional yet violent feel. The guitar work throughout the song is absolutely remarkable. This is 9 and a half minutes of sheer beauty. Devilish screaming and evil growling is followed in "Vanvidd." The song carries a solid back-bone to the album as it contains layers and layers of ominous guitar riffs blaring with distortion. There is tremendous amounts of rapid hi-hats and loud crashing cymbals. Vikernes also manages to include chanting vocals in the middle of the song right before the demonic screaming comes back in. This adds a great Nordic feel to the track.

The song "Budsikken" is ten minutes of skull crushing guitar riffs played in rapid minor chords. The vocals vary between viscous screaming and demonic spoken word which give off wicked fiery undertones. There is also lots of various drum patterns and tempos with detailed song structure This leads to the final track. The album comes to close with "Til Hel og Tilbake igjen" which translates to "To Hel And Back Again." The song is a dark outro that is full of quiet, eerie instrumentation. This includes unusual drum sounds, low, creepy whispering, and haunting guitar notes that fill the air creating a dark environment for the listener. Incredible imagery for this ominous adventure.

"Fallen" leans more towards "Belus" which is Burzum's previous album released in 2010. There is a lot more ambiance all throughout, however it also contains some newer influences as well. The lyrics contain more personal issues yet also include a mythological background. Despite the low recording quality, Vikernes has displayed a well range of variety throughout the record and continues to show his talent and passion towards black metal.


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