Burzum – Fallen
The new Burzum album, “Fallen” is about to be released and it has been covered pretty extensively on the internet. There have been quite a few interviews posted, the best one, in my opinion, being this one at Hellbound. (I liked it because he delved into the philosophy of the album a little more then he has in other interviews, he also opened up a bit about his past.) So there really isn’t much left to say. However, as I’m pretending to be a music journalist here and this is considered by many to be the metal release of the year, I guess I should say a little something, so here goes.
It appears that I’m one of the few Burzum fans that only recently came onboard with the last album, “Belus.” I knew of Burzum and Varg Vikernes, and had a limited knowledge of his place in the history of black metal, but I had never really listened. When “Belus” was released, I figured as a metal fan, it was my duty to at least listen to it and to be honest, I didn’t expect much. Albums that are hyped up often end up being disappointments. But once I heard it, “Belus” turned out to be an amazing album, it did what, at least to me, good black metal is supposed to do; it created an atmosphere, one that elicited an emotional response, which is something few albums do these days. But truth be told, I was concerned that I had gotten caught up in the hype that surrounded that album. I mean everyone was talking about it and it got great reviews and there was a chance that it was just a case of the Emperors New Clothes. So once “Fallen” showed up on my radar, I was really interested to see what he would do this time around, if it turned out to be a steaming pile of crap, then just maybe “Belus” was overrated as well.
Now that I’ve listened to “Fallen” several times over the last few days, I can say with confidence that I really, really like this album and that I hadn’t just been drinking Burzum Kool-Aid with “Belus.” Both albums are excellent, but I actually think I like “Fallen” a little more. Again, Varg has created a powerful atmosphere one that is as cold and unflinching as it is warm and stirring. In interviews, Varg has repeatedly mentioned that the album was mastered like a Classical album and I do hear a difference. I really can’t put my finger on it, but there is an obvious difference. There is a lo-fi quality to much of it, the drums are a little lower in the mix, but overall, I think the sound is really good. The biggest difference is the inclusion of clean vocals, He still growls but there are spoken word-like passages and sung choruses throughout. I think these clean vocals add to the atmosphere, making it a little more accessible in a sense.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a new recruit to the Burzum fan club, so I am by no means qualified to compare this against past works, but I have listened to his older albums recently and I would say that while this may not be groundbreaking in comparison, it is an excellent release and a worthy addition to his catalog.