Burzum/Aske
By Burzum 1992

The first album and EP of Burzum's (not counting several previous demos, one of which is downloadable on www.burzum.org) are collected now on one disc released by Misanthropy Records. Originally released in 1992 and 1993 respectavely these are two of the most essential Black Metal (and sadly hardest to find without an internet connection) black metal releases. The track listing (split up between both) is like this:

Burzum
1: Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown
2: Ea, Lord of the Depths
3: Spell Of Destruction
4: Channeling the Power of Souls into a New God
5: War
6: The Crying Orc
7: My Journey To The Stars
8: Dungeons of Darkness

Aske
9: Stemmen Fra Taarnet
10: Dominus Sathanas
11: A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit

Also, as Varg says in his excellent (and very objective) History of Burzum Part One, the early records were split up into two sides, and were approached as two seperate halves. So broken up in the correct fashion the Burzum album would be like this:

Side Hate
1: Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown
2: Ea, Lord of the Depths
3: Spell Of Destruction
4: Channeling the Power of Souls into a New God

Side Winter
5: War
6: The Crying Orc
7: My Journey To The Stars
8: Dungeons of Darkness

Burzum LP

Listened to in this fashion the whole thing makes a whole lot more sense. Side One begins with some creepy synth riffs, and ends with the very beautiful and eeire synth song "Channeling the Power of Souls into a New God", which is very atmospheric. Beginning Side Two with the near-thrash like "War" (though you would have heard no Thrash song with a vocal track like that), which always reminds me of Bathory, and then ending with "Dungeons of Darkness", another dark eeire, and this time industrial sounding track, which ends the whole thing on a very dark note.

Songs are usually long, (except for "The Crying Orc" and "War") and are allowed to inch their way into your sub-conscious, creating a disturbed, yet alive feeling, very trance inducing, and as Anus.com puts it, bringing the throb of techno into metal. This is especially true for songs like "Ea, Lord of the Depths", which go on for a while, but create a magical trance, which matches the incantory screams of the lyrics.

"Spell of Destruction" does the same, creating a dark, very techno like pulse, but slower than before, and sounding very crazed, screaming over a great inward distance.

The whole album creates the image on the cover, that of a ghost like wraith across a great distance through a great mist, reminding one of the Black Rideres of The Lord of the Rings. One thing which will shock you back into realization of the young man behind this is "The Crying Orc", which brings into light a strong fact of Varg Vikernes', that he identified strongly with the Orcs and Goblins and Trolls of The Lord of The Rings, and this was quite a big part of the mood of his albums. They are creations of Dark Fantasy visions of the otherside, and it is very often beautiful in its ugliness. That one could write a song about a "crying orc" an orc lost in sadness at the destruction of his race, is a beautifully strange thing to many people (this song is only a 58 second instrumental, but is very beautiful).

This album is essential for the mood it creates. There is little to compare it to, except maybe Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger, yet even that is not enough, for Burzum's music is much more variated on this release than on that Darkthrone album. On here, Burzum can go from darkest screams from hell to dark mystical synth pieces, and yet a concentrated piece of emotion and atmosphere is never sacrificed. This is essential for so many reasons, that I can't recommend it strongly enough. You many not like it at first (I didn't), but put it on at night, with the lights out, perhaps a little drunk and watching The Fellowship of the Rings (as I was) and I think you may fall in love with it too. This is beautifully dark and ugly music, and no words can truly describe it.

Aske Ep

Fading in on "Stemmen Fra Taarnet" you can hear a difference from the Burzum LP immediatly. The sound is fuller, with a heavier sounding drum kit and more guitar tracks, Samoth from Emperor is doing session bass on here as well. You will also hear touches of keyboard from time to time. Varg's vocals are screamed now from a distance of reverb creating the impression of intention without knowing the words (which are in Norwegian anyways). The sound is slower than before, with a mid-range beat, and a less techno ambience, bringing a less linear progression. However, the effect is the safe, the dark evil sound still pulls the listener in, and it fits quite excellently after the dying industrial pulse of "Dungeons of Darkness" from the Burzum LP. The touches of synth are quite excellent, for they add a strange forboding harmony to the rest of the sound.

"Dominus Sathanas" is a instrumental guitar piece with some screaming and chanting from Varg over though I don't think there are any written words, and though it is good, it is not quite as interesting as "The Crying Orc". It is more mood enhancing than emotional. To finish it off is the excellent ten minute long, "A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit", which really tops the whole thing off and ends the whole piece (including the Burzum LP) off excellently.

I don't think the Aske Ep would work quite as well on it's own, but as a piece of both parts it works excellently, adding a kind of epilouge to the ending of the Burzum LP. The whole cd is essential as I stated above. (To tell the truth the Aske EP reminds me a lot of A Blaze in the Northern Sky by Darkthrone, because both share a similar production sound and slower speed, with some fast parts.)

Credits for Burzum LP
Line-up: Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes - Vocals, all instruments
Recorded Mid-Winter 1992 during Full Moon at Grieghallen Engineered and Mastered by Pytten
Produced by Putten and Count Grishnackh
Co-Producer Euronymous

Credits for Aske Ep
Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes - Vocals, all instruments
Samoth - Bass
Recorded August 1992 at Grieghallen Studios
Produced by Count Grishnackh and Pytten
All music and lyrics by Count Grishnackh
Bass on this mini album played by Samoth
"Dominus Sathanas" recorded April 1992

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