Monday, May 28, 2012

Burzum - Umskiptar (2012)

It feels like only yesterday when Burzum released "The Fallen" and had everybody raving with excitement. Well clearly Varg has been busy in the studio as he has now released his 2012 album, entitled "Umskiptar." The black metal mastermind has outdone himself yet again with wretched guitars, dark melodies, and ominous vocals. He also manages to really focus on his roots of atmospheric tones.

After a minute of spoken word in "Bloostokkin," the album kicks in with screaming guitar riffs in "Joln." Violent drum rolls and shattering cymbals light up the background while Varg mixes up the verses going back and forth between deathly growls and haunting clean spoken vocals. The guitar riffs are constantly delivering devilish tones and monstrous chugging that'll send a chill down your spine for sure. "Alfadanz" is one of the longer tracks on the album running for over nine and a half minutes. The gorgeous masterpiece opens up with a beautiful piano riff that quickly switches over to distorted guitar notes. Slow basic kicks and cymbals step in adding a soothing rhythm to the mix. The verses open with clean spoken words as the melody continues to play in a mellow tone. Soon comes more aggressive layered guitars as the vocals fill the air with demonic growls and dark sounds. The one thing to really pay attention to here is the amazing drum rolls that take place in the background. Each fill contains complex beats with booming toms and snares that bash your face into the ground. You're also swept off your feet by the evil and yet catchy guitar notes. This melody will be stuck in your head for days.

"Hit Helga Tre" and "Valgaldr" take over with vicious guitar riffs and haunting bass lines. These tracks lean more towards the violent side of the album with their cut throat riffs and messy distortion. Meanwhile your hit with fiendish growls that are layered with light clean vocals backing them up. This definitely gives it that beauty and the beast type of feeling. After being ripped apart by these tracks, you'll run into "Galgvior" which contains ghostly clean singing vocals that shine with reverb. The guitars and drums play around the vocals with basic sounds letting the vocals stand out clearly above the rest. The cachy melody will definitly have you humming along for sure.

Towards the end of the album you will come across "Gullaldr." This is the longest track on the album running for ten minutes and 15 seconds long. This is definitely a must hear track. The dark gloomy guitar riffs with calm emotional vocals will have you addicted and wanting to play it over and over again. Even the growling vocals give off a strong emotional feel. His humming melodies provide atmospheric background in between verses and are also very catchy as well. You will not find any violent guitars in this song however the growls still manage to knock you out of your seat. Most of the riffs contain mellow strumming and melodic finger picking.

The recording of "Umskiptar" will impress you as you'll notcie that the album was mixed and mastered a lot better than "The Fallen." It's great to have that raw sound in the actual recordings of the instruments but its still best to always have it mixed and mastered in the end. Varg Vikernes has managed to be consistent with his work and I feel that his albums keep getting better and better. This album is a must hear album that will leave you begging for more. It's mixture of darkness and beauty will hypnotize you deep into each song. I wish Burzum would follow this up with a North American Tour.


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