Burzum - From The Depths Of Darkness
Byelobog Productions
Black Metal
11 songs (1:04:11)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Goat

Re-recording their own songs is something that many bands get heavily criticised for, yet when even Varg Vikernes is doing it perhaps the fan can do nothing but accept these in the spirit they are intended! Containing Varg’s favourite tracks from the first two Burzum albums, From The Depths Of Darkness is a compilation that shows these songs the way that Varg wanted them to be heard. Recorded in the midst of the Fallen sessions last year, the songs will be familiar to fans of the band, yet there are just enough significant changes to mark them out as different. First of these, most obviously, is the raw yet clear production, giving the guitar sound extra bite. Secondly is the extra professionalism in the playing, particularly drumming, with the guitar parts reproduced expertly. And lastly is in the vocals, Varg’s teenage shrieks of despair much more adult and sinister this time around.

I’ll admit to being surprised at how well the From The Depths Of Darkness tracks turned out. Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown takes on an ever greater hypnotic quality, the guitars feeling more psychedelic with a strange swirliness to them. Ea, Lord Of The Depths is streamlined and focused into a tight tunnel-visioned batterer, swift and brutal. Spell Of Destruction is one of the few tracks which is not greatly improved, the vocals more deliberate and less effective despite the added doomy melodicism of the guitars. That’s probably where this improves most on the originals, being honest, the power of the riffs coming through very clearly on the likes of A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit. The best track ultimately is Key To The Gate, faster and more savage than the original, almost thrashing in parts (would have loved to hear a 2011 version of War, incidentally). I’m less keen on all the ‘introduction’ tracks Varg threw in, however, three of them being too much when the compilation has a full running time of over an hour!

It’s hard to know what to think of From The Depths Of Darkness, in the end. The tracks present are improved, but not greatly over the originals. If indeed you did enjoy Burzum’s first two albums – and few black metal fans don’t, I would suggest – then you can safely skip this. On the other hand, the idea of Varg re-recording his own music is novel enough for all to be rightly curious... don’t expect miracles, but do expect a polishing. A quick note of cynicism – it’s hard not to take note of the fact that this compilation covers only the first two albums and assume that Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Filosofem will get their own re-recording somewhere down the line. There’s far less of an argument for this, the amateur qualities of early Burzum not a hindrance to these later albums’ higher atmospheric qualities. Varg should press on with a follow-up to Fallen instead, I think.

Killing Songs :
Feeble Screams From Forests Unknown, Ea Lord Of The Depths, A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit, Key To The Gate
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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 - Fallen reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Burzum - Belus reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
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