1995 Misanthropy Records
Made up of 4 black metal songs and 2 ambient/industrial songs, Burzum's last black metal album Filosofem is one of my favorite black metal records. Why? Well much like another one of my favorite black metal records, Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger, this is black metal stripped to it's very minimalistic core, simple song structures arranged to create an ambient space, reminding one of wandering through the dark forests, and of older pagan days, before going totally into ambient music, and reminding this listener of being out in a cabin in the snow, with nothing but the over-whelming presence of nature, and the darkness of night. This is an album which bows me down every time I listen to it, making me listen to it, to soak in the textures, the ambient sound the simple riffs, repeating into my soul. The only time I ever read while listening to this, was to a book of Russian Fairy Tales, and I was so moved and felt the lingering pagan presence of the darkness that it actually acutely creeped me out, but in a good way. The music perfectly matchs fairy tales, particularly those of Eastern Europe/Russia and Scandinavia. It is very right that the illustrations on here are of Theodor Kittelson, for Burzum's music reminds me fully of the magical drawings and paintings of Norway that Kittelson did.
This album is magic to me. I understand that Varg wanted it to be a magical/occult experience to listen to this album, and that it is for me. Very few albums are so evocative and intense in their need to express something to the listener. And it is amazing that all works by Varg are like that. The later all ambient records move me to this effect as well, you can sign me up as a fan of all Burzum releases. But out of all of them this is the perfect one, sure Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is also equally specteral, and I like it a lot as well, but it has yet to touch me as deeply as Filosofem.
Obviously I am not being objective, but why should I? Of all the musical styles I have heard, black metal is the most subjective. Every fan likes different combinations of bands and sounds, each one seems to feel their combination is better. I'm not trying to dogmatise you, just stating my love and adoration for this album. It's feeling reminds me so fully of the woods, of everything I love about black metal, that I can't be objective. There are few albums like that, and this is most definatly one.
Varg went into prison after recording this, for killing Euronymous. The main thing I think is that, where could either Varg or Euronymous gone if that hadn't happened? Varg was already to such a high point on Filosofem, what could he have done next. Certainly the ambient albums are extremely good, but I'm sure if he hadn't been sent to Jail he wouldn't have given up on black metal, who knows what could have happened. This is a classic black metal album, everything that to me, black metal should be. A classic.
.ii. Jesus' Tod
.iii. Erblicket die Tochter des Firmaments
.iv. Gebrechlichkeit .i.
.v. Rundgang um die transzendentale Saule der Singularitat
.vi. Gebrechlichkeit .ii.
Recorded in Breidablik Tonstudio .mcmxciii. a.y.p.s.
All instruments Varg Vikernes