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“Isn’t he racist” Yes, and a confessed murderer too (of an arguably better musician), and an arsonist of cultural heritage sites, and the holder of all manner of extremely bizarre views besides. Take an honest look at the stone in your own eye, thou hypocrite, and you may find out you’re not doing so hot yourself. Anyway, I think it’s safe to say all honkies are “racist” nowadays, whether we like it or not: that is at least so far as the, ahem, cultural hegemony is concerned.
Recorded in 1992 by one man, under a full moon, at the Grieg concert hall’s studio (where Emperor also made albums), and originally released on future victim and Mayhem founder Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions, Burzum’s debut didn’t invent Black Metal but it did pioneer the style most often associated with the genre: call it the ‘dark forest’ sound. Its inhuman vocalizations, sickly, buzzing guitar tone, flurried drumming and mournful atmosphere were very influential on the development of the ‘raw’ and ‘depressive’ scenes: see Forgotten Woods, Ildjarn, Ulver and Mutiilation for more information. Contrary to what you may have read on any number of clickbait websites, there’s little here that could be called political content. The lyrics are adolescent (nineteen-year-old) fantasies of violence and power. There are also settings of an ancient Sumerian invocation (A2) and a spell intended to destroy the world (A3). If you want my opinion (and you do, right?), Dungeons and Dragons and Tolkien (‘Burzum’ is Black Speech for ‘darkness’) are more important thematic influences here than Wiligut. This Back on Black reissue also includes the tracks from 1993′s ‘Aske’ (‘Ashes’) EP on the D side. Technically it’s a reissue of the compiled ‘Burzum’/'Aske’ release on Misanthropy Records from 1995. B1 and C2 are ambient and B3 and D2 are instrumental guitar tracks.
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter how you or I may feel about Varg Vikernes or Burzum now, because the movement he started that night at Fantoft Stave has achieved its own momentum, and we will win :-)
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