The colors in which this album have been painted, as mentioned before, are pure metal, black metal. Not post black metal, not prog pagan metal - open the trashbin for any other tag. This is black metal and it's rather a return to the roots than a look to the future, if I should choose between those comfy typical stances. The sound is somewhat reminiscent of tape trading, honestly. The body of guitars is fuzzy enough to be cult and audible enough to make it accomplish the standards of necroness. And here comes my main tape evocation motive: trebles have suffered a lot in the mix and are clearly decimated. However, everything is there, every instrument is noticeable, but their strength is diminished. But that's what the necro thing is about, girls and boys!
After the cliche intro comes the first real song, “Belus' Død,” pretty disappointing by the way, since it's in the vein of the Filosofem style (in fact it was composed in 1993-1994), black metal that is monolithic and boring as hell. In fact, that track is clearly out of time and place in this album, which would have been more consistent without it. Something similar happens to the thrashy “Sverddans,” also an old, forgotten-in-a-drawer composition, but being this a short piece, its inclusion is more tolerable in the overall result. Anyway, the rest of the album has nothing to do with these winks to the past. Songmaking is wise and more thought of than in previous efforts. There are songs the listener may regard as too short, and this is always better than hearing the call of the skip button. Black metal songs with a simple structure, sensible length and less repetitive than the latter black metal Burzum works (Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, Filosofem) are featured here, and some of them achieve moments full of awe and magnificence, in my opinion. “Keliohesten” and “Morgenrøde” display powerful harmonies and excellent riffage. The first one is the closest thing to an unholy invocation of the Mayhem spirit, with that main riff somewhat soaked in “Buried by Time and Dust” feeling. The second one is a revival of the classic Burzum sound, but far more mature and harmonic than ever - monumental black metal depicting grimness and melancholy. I recalled some Drudkh while hearing this one (a band that in my opinion improved the Burzum foundations in some of their releases). That shift in the middle, with the recitative and the ambient riffs dripping in the abyssic, ethereal atmosphere (please note it's not based on synths!) for the rest of the song, does nothing but elevate this song to the category of grandiose, quintessencing the new Burzum sound in a certain way. The outro keeps that floating black metal sentiment, but goes down in terms of quality and spirit.
Vocals are away from the trademark shrieks herr Varg was responsible of. His new black metal raids can match the intensity of classic singers of the genre: Nocturno Culto, Abbath, Satyr... And the inclusion of clean voices are also positive, enriching songs as “Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning” with those murmurs... Very mantra-like is that repetitive “Jeg reiser til mørkets dyp der alt er dødt” between verses, hypnotic, it sticks in your mind rapidly. As a last big detail to describe, lyrics are another good point of the album, dealing with Norse mythology in a non-cheesy treatment, we could expect nothing less coming from an educated guy on the subject like Varg.
Belus is not a masterpiece but has really awesome passages and songs. Belus is not crap... of course it's not crap, according to what I've written! It's slightly commercial in the sense that it can please a wide variety of Burzum followers, the ones who don't like long synth masturbations, the ones praising “Hvis Lyset...,” the ones fond of the first albums... But it's not commercial in the Stratovarius or Hammerfall way, obviously. I like it and I think it's a good album, to make it very short and simple. And this review has gone too far, so it's time for you to check it out.
|1. Leukes Renkespill (Introduksjon)|
|2. Belus' Død|
|3. Glemselens Elv|
|4. Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning|
|8. Belus' Tilbakekomst (Konklusjon)|
|Buy other Burzum albums|