Tuesday, January 15, 2019

THE BURZUM REISSUE CHRONICLES Part 3 of 3



THE BURZUM REISSUE CHRONICLES

Satanath Records

Part Three of Three

The Russian label Satanath Records has recently re-released the whole BURZUM catalog which is for sale in Russia but is licensed from Byelobog Productions. This is a perfect opportunity for yours truly to go through and write a few things about BURZUM. I have written about some releases, aka: the first ones when Varg Vikernes was released from prison. I make no apologies about it. I am and will always be a fan of BURZUM. But I am objective to a point. You see I always strive to the importance that it's always about the music.


Now for you ignorant ones, BURZUM was the one man Norwegian black metal project started in 1991 by Varg Vikernes. He is still one of the most influential musicians in black metal's history, especially for one man black metal acts across the globe. On the other side of the coin Vikernes was convicted for the murder of Oystein Aarseth aka: Euronymous of MAYHEM. He was also convicted of arson and served fourteen years in prison.


Now for you truly ignorant ones, if you hate Vikernes for his crimes then fine, move on. If you have some sort of grudge against him then let me remind you. Unless you are over forty-five, Norwegian and a friend or family member of the Aarseths then you just need to shut the fuck up. I am a huge MAYHEM fan as well and you know what? I just live my own life and enjoy the music.


So as far as my looking at all of these releases well it'll be short, sweet, informative, opinionated as well as fun. Besides it's January, it's cold and windy outside right now and we're expecting freezing rain or even snow in the coming days. So what else is there to do then listen to BURZUM's whole catalog, let's get into it.




BURZUM - Hvis Lyset Tar Oss


My favorite BURZUM album you ask? Yeah well it is one I like a lot for a number of reasons. First off this was my first experience with listening to BURZUM on CD. Just listen to "Det som en gang var". You've got this minimalist drum pattern, a hornet nest's guitar sound, haunting keyboards and of course Varg's wretched screams. What could be more inviting?


The second thing is that on Hvis Lyset Tar Oss you've got four distinct cuts that don't overlap as far as style and atmosphere. You've got the trance inducing melodies, the thrash and raw rip your head off stuff, the atmospheric piece as well as the ambient endeavor. This was Varg on a plate for a listener to feast upon which is what I did at that time. Third is that if you listen to what came before and what came afterward then you see Hvis Lyset Tar Oss as a very progressive effort by Varg.


https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat224-burzum-hvis-lyset-tar-oss-re-release-2018




BURZUM - Det Som Engang Var


The sophomore full length by BURZUM is where Varg really embraced his potential to create a climate of eerie, harsh and ambient sounds. The opening instrumental "Den Onde Kysten" has this creepy atmosphere as if you're literally entering that D&D fortress like structure depicted on the front cover. From that point onward it's an exploration of said dwelling in a musical sense. 


Sound-wise you have this dirge like guitar riffs coming across like a very pissed off nest of hornets. Varg's variations of vocals whether it be ghostly chants and whispers, painful wails or those fucking high pitched screams. The bass lines coming across at times like thunder while in other cases sound like giant boots marching towards you. Turn out the lights, turn up the volume and prepare to be freaked the fuck out.


https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat223-burzum-det-som-engang-var-re-release-2018





BURZUM - Self Titled LP / Aske EP

And so it begins per say. This reissue of Varg's first two releases is simply raw black metal at it's finest. Break out a sweater because it's about to get chilly to say the least. Unlike other reissues of this, like the one I got, this contains both versions of "A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit". But as far as this one goes it's still a fine piece of work. Varg's first attack upon the psyche of metal music fans. Please don't pester me about the demos OK? 

As with that you get Varg's horrific screams, that maniacal guitar tone which could drive anyone insane, some keyboard interludes and minimalist drumming. Obviously Varg would go onto better things and in a short time as well. Still cuts like "Feeble Screams from Forests", "Ea, Lord of the Depths", "Spell of Destruction" and "A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit" will always some timeless favorites for yours truly.


https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat222-burzum-burzum-aske-re-release-2018






BURZUM - 12 CD Box Set

So how do I end the BURZUM CHRONICLES? By talking about a BURZUM Box Set. For less than the price of an original Deathlike Silence copy of the Aske EP  (and no not that Macedonian bootleg you bought over the internet to impress your hipster buds at Pitchfork) you could pick up this BURZUM Box Set. Go to the link below.

http://satanath.com/


Sunday, January 13, 2019

THE BURZUM REISSUE CHRONICLES Part 2 of 3



THE BURZUM REISSUE CHRONICLES

Satanath Records

Part Two of Three

The Russian label Satanath Records has recently re-released the whole BURZUM catalog which is for sale in Russia but is licensed from Byelobog Productions. This is a perfect opportunity for yours truly to go through and write a few things about BURZUM. I have written about some releases, aka: the first ones when Varg Vikernes was released from prison. I make no apologies about it. I am and will always be a fan of BURZUM. But I am objective to a point. You see I always strive to the importance that it's always about the music.

Now for you ignorant ones, BURZUM was the one man Norwegian black metal project started in 1991 by Varg Vikernes. He is still one of the most influential musicians in black metal's history, especially for one man black metal acts across the globe. On the other side of the coin Vikernes was convicted for the murder of Oystein Aarseth aka: Euronymous of MAYHEM. He was also convicted of arson and served fourteen years in prison.

Now for you truly ignorant ones, if you hate Vikernes for his crimes then fine, move on. If you have some sort of grudge against him then let me remind you. Unless you are over forty-five, Norwegian and a friend or family member of the Aarseths then you just need to shut the fuck up. I am a huge MAYHEM fan as well and you know what? I just live my own life and enjoy the music.

So as far as my looking at all of these releases well it'll be short, sweet, informative, opinionated as well as fun. Besides it's January, it's cold and windy outside right now and we're expecting freezing rain or even snow in the coming days. So what else is there to do then listen to BURZUM's whole catalog, let's get into it.






BURZUM - Hlioskjalf


I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only thing good about this release is it's cover artwork. Hlioskjalf was Varg's second recording from prison. The only reason I own a copy of this (as well as it's predecessor Dauoi Baldrs) is because years ago I found both for sale in a music store's used metal section. I had known at the time what to expect but still it was BURZUM so I laid down the cash. By the way they were both over priced to say the least. 


Anyway getting back to the matter at hand, Hlioskjalf was Varg's full blown attempt at producing a neo-classical / ambient piece of work. There was no black metal influences involved here. On the contrary this was New Age music Varg. Now with that said I'll give Hlioskjalf some respect. The man finally was allowed a decent keyboard in order to compose this work. I always found it worthy to fall asleep to. That's not a swipe since peaceful, tranquil sounds are easy to allow relaxation.


https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat227-burzum-hli-skj-lf-re-release-2018





BURZUM - Dauoi Baldrs


Years later I still cannot fully get into this, Varg's first work from prison and performed solely on a poor keyboard of some sort. But I've come to respect it because it is a very haunting atmospheric folk saga being played out. Aside from the music the packaging is fantastic with artwork by Tanya Stene along with the words to help get you to an understanding of what Varg was conveying. For all the people who slag this release you need to understand something. You're a musician, an incarcerated artist wanting to create and you have limited resources. Varg made due and that's all you can say about this piece of work. 

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat226-burzum-dau-i-baldrs-re-release-2018






BURZUM - Filosofem


For years now I've seen writers in the metal media calling this release from 1996 to be Varg's best. I never agreed with that assessment for my own reasons. Yes it is a great album but lets be honest. The first three tracks are great, OK they're fantastic. The latter three can be boring but hey if you liked em then you had better not complain about Varg's prison bound material. 


Filosofem is the BURZUM album that launched the careers of a dozen atmospheric or depressive black metal imitators and influenced a hundred more artists. Funny thing is that when Varg finally got out of prison those imitators quickly stopped stealing from the guy. It was like "Oh look Varg's back. I think I'll play country music now." For all of you newcomers I'll say this. Filosofem is a great album but it's not the first album by BURZUM's pre-prison era which you should check out. In fact it's the last album.

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat225-burzum-filosofem-re-release-2018

Friday, January 11, 2019

THE BURZUM REISSUE CHRONICLES Part 1 of 3



THE BURZUM REISSUE CHRONICLES

Satanath Records

Part One of Three

The Russian label Satanath Records has recently re-released most of the BURZUM catalog which is for sale in Russia but is licensed from Byelobog Productions. By the way Satanath Records are a great label and they'll send you one too. So this is a perfect opportunity for yours truly to go through and write a few things about BURZUM. I have written about some releases, aka: the first ones when Varg Vikernes was released from prison. I make no apologies about it. I am and will always be a fan of BURZUM. But I am objective to a point. You see I always strive to the importance that it's always about the music.


Now for you ignorant ones, BURZUM was the one man Norwegian black metal project started in 1991 by Varg Vikernes. He is still one of the most influential musicians in black metal's history, especially for one man black metal acts across the globe. On the other side of the coin Vikernes was convicted for the murder of Oystein Aarseth aka: Euronymous of MAYHEM. He was also convicted of arson and served fourteen years in prison.

Now for you truly ignorant ones, if you hate Vikernes for his crimes then fine, move on. If you have some sort of grudge against him then let me remind you. Unless you are over forty-five, Norwegian and a friend or family member of the Aarseths then you just need to shut the fuck up. I am a huge MAYHEM fan as well and you know what? I just live my own life and enjoy the music.

So as far as my looking at all of these releases well it'll be short, sweet, informative, opinionated as well as fun. Besides it's January, it's cold and windy outside right now and we're expecting freezing rain or even snow in the coming days. So what else is there to do then listen to BURZUM's whole catalog, let's get into it.





BURZUM - The Ways of Yore

This is the eleventh album by BURZUM which was released in 2014. I didn't hear it until 2015 and let me say I'm not a fan it at all. By this time in his career Varg had given up on metal and moved onto ambient medieval folk. Most of this is synth generated earth fart type of stuff. There's a few cuts where we're treated slightly by some tremolo picked riffs. There's plenty of acoustic moments displayed. Varg is in total spoken word mode here. Frankly WARDRUNA did it better. But in the end as a fan I thought this was a let down. Unless you're into ambient sounds of medieval yore then you'll like this one. Supposedly this was Varg's last release but hey you never know with this guy. In the end it's all medieval folk Varg trying his best.

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat233-burzum-the-ways-of-yore-re-release-2018





BURZUM - Sol austan, Mani vestan

I never heard this album until this week and I had my reasons. Released in 2013, I had heard it was completely ambient synth type of stuff and it is. To make an even more blatant point. This release makes Varg's in jail Casio keyboard stuff seem good. This was just synth rock for bored stoners and hipsters pining for a future where socialist boredom and un-creativity is the norm. A friend of mine once told me she had to take a lit cigarette and burn herself every few songs in order to keep awake while playing this. I'm not up to scarification. After every third cut I'd just push pause, strip down naked and walk outside into the frigid cold for a few minutes. That worked as far as waking up but I ended up with a pinkish hue. I did find it good to fall asleep to.

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat232-burzum-s-l-austan-m-ni-vestan-re-release-2018





BURZUM - Umskiptar

This was the ninth studio album for BURZUM and the fourth since Varg was released from prison. It's also a underrated folk metal classic.  Umskiptar is the final work upon which Varg was building with earlier post prison releases. Whether it's the sheet metal riffs of the more melodic blackened cuts, the psych elements, the atmospheric and beautiful ambiance put forth through the keys, repetitive drumming and of course Varg's shifting vocal style. It's all here for anyone to enjoy and be mesmerized.

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat231-burzum-umskiptar-re-release-2018





BURZUM - From the Depths of Darkness

Here's one that I did review back in 2011 on the lost SFM666 site (aka: The Archives). At that time I thought it was great for a variety of reasons. The skinny on this one was simple. Varg picked a handful of cuts from his first two full length releases (the Self Titled debut and Det Som Engang Var) re-recorded them, added some ambient intro pieces, tweaked the vocals and enhanced the production a little. For me it was no big deal simply because they're his songs. If he feels he could've done them better then by all means go ahead.


In the end I thought it was not heresy as some other dipshits in the metal media opined. Actually in an era where old releases get remastered constantly (with mixed results in my opinion) and are promoted by these same metal media dipshits. It just showed off their hypocrisy. Maybe that's why I considered this to be good. While a few years prior they were promoting that hipster's guide to BURZUM best of album put out by Back in Black or was it Candlelight? Yeah I had written about that one as well. LOL!!! Yes this is a must have.

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat230-burzum-from-the-depths-of-darkness-re-release-2018





BURZUM - Fallen

Also in 2011 Varg unleashed upon us all his second post prison release Fallen. This release was as beautiful musically as it's cover suggested. To just paraphrase all of what I said about this one that year in my review, this had it all. You heard ambiance, pagan folk, plenty of frantic tremolo picking, repetitive melodic riffs, Varg using clean vocals, his aged harsh rasp as well as those whispers. 


Fallen starts off slowly but a quarter of the way in is where the excitement starts and I kinda liked that then as I do today. It was not the type of release for the superficial hip crowd in 2011. Instead it turned out to be the perfect release for those who had followed Varg's musical career. This was the real follow-up of 1996's Filosofem.

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat229-burzum-fallen-re-release-2018







BURZUM - Belus

Varg's first release since being let out of prison. 2010's Belus was not the shocker nor predictable piece of work that many people believed it would be. For the most part at least it washed away the sins of his prison bound Casio keyboard recordings. As I said back in my 2010 review of this, Belus is part Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and part Filosofern. I also called it the true follow-up to Filosofern. I changed my mind once I heard Fallen a year later. 

Still it was simply a decent return to the final days of Black Metal’s Second Wave but with a more mature and determined composer at the helm. The sad thing about it was that sure Varg had returned from where he left off. And yet you had over a decade of imitators who have been overwhelmingly influenced by BURZUM. Not all of course but some of those artists released damm good music in Varg's absence. That's not a slight at all against Belus but on a whole there was no huge fanfare for the return of the white king. This release would be the last outing for Varg as far as his creating straight up atmospheric black metal goes. 

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat228-burzum-belus-re-release-2018



THROMBUS – Mental Turmoil Reissue review



THROMBUS – Mental Turmoil Reissue

La Caverna Records




I'm thinking many people out there in the land of metal fandom will not immediately recognize this band. On the other hand if you're a collector of everything death metal or a US doom fan then you might know about this. THROMBUS were a four piece US death metal act who hailed from Oregon back in the early 1990s. The doom connection comes from one of the band members here, Isamu Sato, who played on three (and in my opinion best) of YOB's early albums. Now there's second US doom connection here as well in that another guy, Mike Brown, played with the band ALDEBARAN who I happen to be a fan of as well.


Now while THROMBUS only lasted a handful of years in the early 90s. This their sole release has garnered a somewhat legendary status by some people who've made it out to be a collectible item. Mental Turmoil was originally released by the band as a cassette. (see below)




The band put out around a 100 copies and afterwards, in the latter 90s, it was passed on in second or third hand copies via tape trading. During the 2000s or when the internet explosion came about it became available on obscure metal download sites. Don't lie, you know exactly what I'm talking about. A few years back I was reading something that mentioned the band as legendary and I had thought this had been reissued on CD by the way the author was writing about it. Obviously I was mistaken because here it is now.


Musically in a reality sense THROMBUS on Mental Turmoil are not legendary. It's basic 90's era US death metal in a vein similar to many acts at the time. Maybe more similar to Midwest DM then Floridian. I know if I picked it apart then I could name drop. Now as far as quality yes it's good. The band followed the 90's era basics of decent chunky rhythms, dirty guitar tones, some sharp solos and of course gruff vocals pushed to the front. All six cuts are decent but not in any way groundbreaking. 


Now that's not to say this is not worthwhile. It's always cool to see something from the past which was unavailable to fans getting a second shot. Also having it available on CD makes it better for people with thin wallets. I don't begrudge people selling things on Ebay and making a profit from it. I just hate ripoff artists. Nuff Said.



https://lacavernarecs.bandcamp.com/

https://lacavernarecs.bandcamp.com/album/mental-turmoil


CONDOR - El Valle del Condor review



CONDOR - El Valle del Condor

La Caverna Records




After listening to this several times I came away with the basic concept of it being interesting. Those familiar with my writings will understand that when I use the term "interesting" there's blood on both edges of my sword. This release came to me billed as death doom from Columbia, the nation and not the record label. I really don't think that genre tagline fits this band completely. CONDOR should not be pigeon-holed by a long mile. I say that because this release is a wild ride which I'm still doing my best to comprehend as well as enjoy. 


CONDOR are heavy on the classic hard rock / metal structure, that's a fact. But there's so much head snapping action going on within this release it's hard to pin them down to anything. You could call them eclectic or better yet a term I've seen used before as in VOIVOD-ian. Musically this will make your average avant garde metal fan blow a few brain cells. Seriously CONDOR are all over the place musically but it all works well. This five piece act push the spontaneous approach whether it's some galloping rhythms, a few doomy melodies or the nuanced leads that dance throughout many of their cuts. For the most part the vocals are sung in that gruff death metal style. Toss in some Colombian folk with acoustic guitar and you've got a well rounded release.


  
https://www.facebook.com/La-Caverna-Records-1576145459327889/?ref=page

https://lacavernarecs.bandcamp.com/

https://lacavernarecs.bandcamp.com/album/el-valle-del-c-ndor

https://www.facebook.com/condorheavymetal


VESICATION - A Decade of Damage review



VESICATION - A Decade of Damage

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions




What we have here is a compilation by Canadian filth mongers who worship at the altar of IMPETIGO as well as a few other less then glorious brutal death metal acts. VESICATION started out in 2008 but really hasn't produced much over that time. They've put out a couple of EPs and a full length since 2012. So this is an eight song compilation which is more a sampler than a best of package. 


First off I'm kinda surprised that their cover version of (one of my all time favorite Canadian hardcore bands) the DAYGLO ABORTIONS' "Proud to be Canadian" is not on here. Be that as it may there is a WADGE cover which is not a big surprise since they're a fairly known Canadian grindcore act. I have that deju vu feeling right now. A band puts out a compilation of old material. So maybe they're gearing up for a new full length. I've seen it before. But anyways for a welcome mat into VESICATION as well as a avenue into the more brutal side of Canadian death metal then this is a good place to start.


http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/a-decade-of-damage

https://www.facebook.com/vesication


ARCHEAN - Self Titled EP review



ARCHEAN - Self Titled EP

Ogmios Underground




Holy crap this is cool as fuck! Musically this is like blackened fuckin punk meets an hailstorm of insanity and blast beats. Your too cool kvlt crowd might thumb their noses at it and of course the hiptard post BM losers will hate it. But hey back in the day I knew plenty of scum punks who got into BATHORY. Fast forward to the present and there's a shitload of fans out there who refuse to be defined by genres or crowds because they like it all as long as it's intense.


Now the one thing about this release that freaks me out a bit is the vocals. This is a female singer who comes across as one pissed off woman. She's not really trying that hard to be harsh or sickening as far as her vocal range goes. She just comes across as angry as hell. And you know hell has no fury like a woman's scorn. She's like that over all five of these tracks. Damm I better check to see if I left the toilet seat up. Be that as it may this is the debut release by this French five piece act. Damm thing will put you in your place. 


http://www.ogmiosug.fr/

https://archean.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/ArcheanBlackMetal/