|1.||Den Onde Kysten|
|2.||Key to the Gate|
|3.||En Ring Til Å Herske|
|5.||Han Som Reiste|
|6.||Når Himmelen Klarner|
|7.||Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn|
+ Legacy score
- Den Onde Kysten
- Key to the Gate
- En Ring Til Å Herske
- Lost Wisdom
- Han Som Reiste
- Når Himmelen Klarner
- Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn
- Svarte Troner
1 Review for 'Burzum - Det Som Engang Var''Det Som Engang Var'
The Bigger Picture Unfolds as We Enter a Genius' Musical Peak!
Before we begin this review, i urge you to read the review for the debut Burzum Album if you haven't already Since these two albums are intertwined with each other and some information on that album is also related to this album to you might find interesting.
First of all, i want to explain why i see this particular album as a superior album to all other Burzum albums (Including the fan-favorites that are 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' and 'Filosofem') and indeed all Norwegian Black Metal Albums:
First and foremost, the fact that this (and of course the Debut album) are coming straight from the 1980s! after these two albums, Varg experimented more and more and started to shift away from the 80s formulas with each album that followed. This also happened with most of the second Wave bands after the golden years of 1993-1994. Everyone got into a race of "who can make the rawest piece ever and experimented with worse and worse equipment to get the desired necro sound (note that i'm not criticizing the mentioned techniques, i just think that they are not as good the old school stuff!)
At this stage in the Norwegian scene, the bands were still exclusive to the small circle of people in the scene and there was little publications about it. This in turn created a more underground, rebellious atmosphere for great artists to thrive on.
Also, the production on these two albums were much crisper and well engineered. Also unlike the forthcoming albums, there was still tons of progression (not as monotonous and repetitive!). So, although one can argue that that those albums are better experiences (or rather rituals), these two albums were the most musical!
Even though everyone, including Varg himself, believe that these two albums were rushed and were not as good as the following albums, i always found the performances on these two albums sharper and crisper. Also the songwriting has been a huge pro of these works. All the songs are either well-written short tracks or long epic tracks with good amount of progression instead of blunt repetition (in the same fashion as Bathory's Classic Blood, Fire death)
As i mentioned in the review for the first album, the artwork in the first album is a zoomed-in small portion of the artwork used on the 2nd album. On this album the picture widens and we can see the thing he is searching in the darkness and madness of the first album!
The Intro song which translates into 'The Coast of Evil' is the perfect soundtrack for any D&D work! it's a brilliant ambient track that definetly inspired a myriad of 'Dungeon synth' bands that came after it. The track consists of dissonant chords and simple, minimal movements that creates the stillness and darkness of the environment it seeks to describe. Anyone who enjoys early Mortiis can easily see the immense influence that this simple, 'nothing of a track' had on him! i usually listen to this song on repeat while reading Tolkien books. Trust me it really suits that world better than anything else! and most importantly, it prepares the listener for the upcoming chaos that is 'Key to the Gate' perfectly.
'Key to the Gate' starts with a rather chaotic and unbalanced riff supported by intense blast beats in order to paint a picture of a guy who is confused and lost in an bleak state. It creates a contrast against the more melodic parts that will come later in the song. Overall, this song has one of the best progression approaches i have ever encountered. After the chaos, the drums slow down to let the catchy 80s inspired Thrash-y riff enter! a riff which warms up the atmosphere and creates a sense of anticipation. It is one of the most badass riffs in the entire Burzum catalogue. It's pure madness! then the drums come crashing down again and we hear the painful cries and hopeless screams of the lone wolf. After a bit more of this intense level, the song changes once again into what i call the 'despair' riff! the anguishing lyrics and riffs that are showcased on this part are amazingly heart breaking and gloomy. Then, all of a sudden, the song stops, everything dies but the sound of winds of sorrow. A very minimalistic and signature Burzum riff shatters the silence and pulls the listener to the next segment of the track which is the truly amazing solo. It kind of works as an anti-lead in the structure of the song. A solo which gives the feeling of a kind of bleak redemption that comes from a man's hope for opening the gates of 'Hel'. A hellish place for the christian ideology and 'Elysium' for the Pagan ideology.
After the amazing solo, we arrive at one of the richest Bass lines that show us Varg was no slouch in the 4 strings department! then the 2nd Solo starts of where the first one left off. It too acts as an anti-lead part in the progression of things. Between the two solos, there is a simple, signature riff that is recurring all over the track. Well, according to the varg that is the essence and purpose of the whole track, to build up haste for that hypnotyzing minimalism that is Burzum's party trick! a simple riff that a toddler could play, but it has the power of Six-String Arpeggio's! i have to say, this has always been my favorite Burzum track to listen to.
The third track 'En Ring Til Å Herske' which translates into 'One Ring to Rule' is obviously the most Tolkien-inspired track of all! it captures the professors picture and essence about the dominion of the Dark Lord better than any adaptation! we start with a simple warm-up riff which then gets obliterated by Varg's haunting chorus. A chorus which does not have any words or poetry, but rather some hums and clean vocal effects. His vocals on this track are truly ugly and utterly perfect for the lyrics and the atmosphere at hand. Towards the middle of the song, the guitars tune down and the riffs become even more minimal. To a point where there is nothing but a simple 1-2-3-3-2-1 riff with the occasional single string bass riff creating a hypnotyzing Spell. A spell which makes you fall out of time and go into another state of mind. This riff is so simple that it goes into entry-level acoustic guitar riffing. However; Varg's extreme musical talent manages to incororate that technique into the metal sound seemlessly! after this mezmerising part, the song lifts up to yet another powerful Change-over riff and pushes the song into it's final, most glorios part; what i call the bleak redemption part! just like the final parts of 'Key to the Gate'. This song is perhaps the most primitive, minimal song in Burzum's Metal catalogue, yet it is one of the most soulful, powerful, melancholic and atmospheric one! i guess "less is More"!
'Lost Wisdom' is by far the angriest song here and one of the few Burzum songs which directly attacks Christianity and the church (without any lighters or matches of course!). The initial riff is another incredibly simple riff which gets shattered by the abrupt charge of the drums. (this kind of Drumming would be heavily used in Burzum's 1994 Classic 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss'). I have to say the peak of this song for me is the amazing solo (or Anti-lead riff according to Varg!) towards the end of the song. If you were to play this on a guitar with clean Jazz setup it would sound shit but here it is magical my friends. A lot of that would have to do with the weird production quality of this particular song. Out of all 6 tracks here, this one sounds the rawest somehow. I guess this is mainly because this song was recorded prior to other songs so it does not sound as crisp as the later recorded ones. Also, it's usual that the songs that are written before other songs, sound considerably different. Maybe the musicians are bored with those songs which they have practiced more! anyway, who is to complain? the raw quality of this song gave it it's unique and legendary charechteristic.
The 2nd side begins with a simple ambient improvisation song called 'Han Som Reiste' which translates into 'He Who Wandered'. This song is perhaps the best showcase for Varg's immense musical genius. If you were to seperate the different layers on this song you would be left with some cling's and bup's on a keyboard! this simple, last minute improvisation song shows Vargs difference from the other Black Metal musicians since it will earn it's place in the history of music rather than history of Black Metal! (extremely recommended for long boring trips out out of town!)
'Når Himmelen Klarner' which translates into 'When the Sky Clears' is another instrumental track which helps create the bridge from the warm ambient atmosphere of 'Han Som Reiste' into the cold frostbite which is 'Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn'. Honestly, i yearn to find anyone who would say that the riff change and the progression from bleak melancholy to redemption does not impress them one bit!
The Epic album closer 'Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn' is more or less the twin brother of 'A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit' in every possible way! details like these makes these two albums bonded to each other more and more. This song, just like the latter, starts off very angry and intense and changes pace the further you go. The progression on these songs are truly something to behold! one other gigantic quality of this song is the backing vocal effects by Mr. Vikernes; the cries, anguishes are incredibly bleak and haunting. No other musician have achieved these levels of anguishing vocals without sounding like a witch from a cheezy horror movie prior to Mr Vikernes! another aspect of this song (and this album overall) is the amazingly moving bass lines. Don't expect to hear any Slap, tap bass or indeed any funky thing that would impress nerdy Youtubers. These bass lines work just like a twin cello attack on Wagners operas. They are doing what they are supposed to do, not to be a seperate instrument to show off on the internet! the mid-pace to fast riffs showcased at the beginning of this track and indeed 'A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit' became the blueprint for icy cold Norwegian Black riffing style. I'm not saying he invented this style but his way of executing these Mayhem and Bathory inspired riffs created a whole new wave of musical technique. Just listen to the first Gorgoroth album and tell me that the fast tremelo-picked riffs are not inspired by Burzum's legacy!
Plus, it's not just the fast / mid-paced riffing styles that Varg contributed to the world Via these two albums; the minimal spell riffs that are splattered all over these two albums are directly responsible for the creation of the Depressive Black metal subgenre. Strid, Forgotten Woods, Mutiilation are just a small number of important names that owe their existence to these two albums. Anyway let's not get bogged down with the influential aspect of Varg's music since we don't want to waste our time by naming all the 10000 bands that got inspired by the music of the Count!
This album is not only my fav Burzum album, it's always been my fav Norwegian Black Metal release ever! it always been in the shadow of its successors. Though it surpasses the other albums in every imaginable field. Better songwriting, crisp production, great use of keyboards & ambient in/outros, clever usage of vocal effects and of course the incredible use of genuine and pure vocals. The unforgettable riffs and tight performances in all instruments.
This rating is inherited from the previous version of the site, and is equivalent to one review.
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