Burzum - Fallen
Byelobog Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (47:41)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

I can’t have been the only one to raise a concerned eyebrow at the news of another post-prison Burzum album so soon. Personally, I’m still giving Belus listens and musing at what is a very good album indeed, if not quite up there with the classics like Filosofem – for Varg to have another album ready for release just a year later is a little worrying. Yet if there’s one thing we can rely on about the ex-Count it’s that he’s not going to release albums for mere financial gain, and Fallen is as worthy as praise as any other non-prison release from his project. It takes the sound of Belus and shifts it experimentally towards the debut album, moving slightly towards a more song-based approach, although it’s interesting that the hypnotic vibe is not lost. Varg has truly developed as a songwriter, something obvious from your first listen to Fallen, a much more immediately interesting album than Belus which took multiple tries before it ‘clicked’ for me. The moment I finished my first listen of Fallen, I knew that I had just heard something genuinely interesting, a surprising album that doesn’t follow my preconceived notions of what a Burzum album should be, and yet one which doesn’t disappoint, either.

There are similarities to Belus which will be more apparent to some people than others – this really is an album that will speak to different listeners in different ways, ever a good thing. In general, consider it an upgraded, improved version of the same formula, with even the bottle-dropping intro changed into something better; here, introduction Fra Verdenstreet is an ambient piece with echoing whispers and dripping pipes, reminiscent of Svarte Troner’s sewer-like atmosphere. First track proper Jeg Faller brings the black metal with blastbeats and wallclimbing riffage creating the track’s central melody, Varg’s vocals harsh and croaked before changing to clean singing, almost humming the surprisingly catchy chorus. He even whispers at points, suiting the thoughtful, melancholic music well. This approach is built on with the following Valen, an almost epic build-up again launching into a catchy chorus, with harsh and clean vocals overlaid simultaneously, although this track focuses more on the hypnotic riffage than the catchiness.

Everywhere you look, there’s proof positive that the man still has what it takes. Vanvidd, the closest thing here to traditional black metal, speeds up the riffage, giving a more frantic feel as Varg’s clean vocals turn spooky, hidden partially behind the music, ending in a morass of howls and screeches. Budstikken, the longest track on the album at over ten minutes, has a rather wonderful laid-back vibe, helped by Varg’s almost whimsical clean vocals. Finale piece Til Hel og tilbake igjen, meanwhile, is an ambient piece made up almost entirely of slow, tribal percussion, some acoustic plucking at the end finishing things off. As a whole (and I haven’t commented on every track) Fallen is a focused album, avoiding the filler of Belus and intently mining a rich formula that seems less experimental the more you listen to it, until when you’re used to the album it just sounds natural and right. Burzum is morphing into more of a journey than a band, a path gradually telling of one man’s artistic vision – if there is to be another album this time next year, there’ll be little pessimism on my part as to its merits. And I’ll certainly be keeping Fallen on my playlist for a good while yet.

Killing Songs :
Jeg Faller, Valen, Vanvidd, Budstikken
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Burzum that we have reviewed:
Burzum - The Ways of Yore reviewed by Andy and quoted 69 / 100
Burzum - Sol austan, Mani vestan reviewed by Goat and quoted 40 / 100
Burzum - Umskiptar reviewed by Goat and quoted 68 / 100
Burzum - From The Depths Of Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Burzum - Belus reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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