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Burzum - "Fallen" (CD)

Burzum - "Fallen" CD cover image

"Fallen" track listing:

1. Fra Verdenstreet
2. Jeg Faller
3. Valen
4. Vanvidd
5. Enhver Til Sitt
6. Budstikken
7. Til Hel og Tilbake Igjen

Reviewed by on February 14, 2011

"'Fallen' would having me waving a 'self plagiarism' banner high if it wasn't so refreshing to hear fresh and melodic Burzum riffs."

My friends, the leaves must have been falling more quickly and the darkness approaching faster each night because I am already delivering a second post incarceration Burzum review, this time of the excellent “Fallen.”

“Fallen” is essentially the album that “Belus” should have been. It has more natural production, generally more memorable riffs, and tentatively branches out in a new direction where "Belus” just was keen to drive straight home. Otherwise, however, Burzum is refusing to move from the well worn position it holds in the black metal community and I, for one, am happy about it.

Firstly the production is less fatiguing on the ear, with the some of the grating highs of “Belus” curved into tamer lo fi fuzz. “Budstikken” in particular sounds more like a floating trip through indie territory than the hyperspeed, death metal infused aggression of modern black metal. Discounting ambient tracks, there are 5 lengthy Burzum morsels to chew on in “Fallen.” Taking all the restraint of a monk not to give you a track by track break down, the riffs in each track struck me as more moving than Belus, a feeling directed strongly by a stronger melodious undercurrent. One could say there has been little to no progression in riff writing since “Filosofem" - dual guitar lines and hypnotic harmonies move at the same varying tempos with the same drum patterns previously set to repeat. “Fallen” would having me waving a “self plagiarism” banner high if it wasn't so refreshing to hear fresh and melodic Burzum riffs.

The new inclusion to the arena is Varg's clean sung vocal lines, perhaps best displayed in the dare-I-say-it catchy chorus to “Jeg Faller.” With a vocal register sitting just above spoken word we can safely say Varg is definitely no Garm (not even a Rob Darken). However, it's an inclusion well suited to the mystic charms of the repetitive music.

I mentioned ambient tracks previously which are positioned as the opener and closer to the album. Varg has chosen once again to completely forgo the synthesizer route making the traditional percussion and whisperings not so boring to as be skipped, but non-essential. Those who enjoyed the haunting melodies which droned over previous albums like “Det Som Engang Var” may still be disappointed but overall the guitars and ever more noticeable bass lines are enough to cast the atmospheric spell of a good Burzum track.

If you thought “Belus” was rehashing earlier glories, then this will no doubt confound as to why Varg is sitting still after so many years. Otherwise, know that Burzum has superceeded the previous effort, and that my friends is a great thing.

Highs: Classic Burzum in almost every sense of the measure, with enough of a new colour to be a nice new addition

Lows: Virtually no progression from Belus, only improvement

Bottom line: Better than "Belus," and holding steady with a well crafted formula for success

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)