Burzum – Thûlean Mysteries
I guess most people in the metal community have an opinion on the sole member of Burzum, Varg Vikernes aka Varg Qisling Larssøn Vikernes aka Kristian Vikernes aka Count Grishnackh aka Louis Cachet, either you find him to be a neo-nazi scum, a murderous traitor or Gods(?) greatest gift to Black Metal. Whatever your opinion is, the facts are that he is a convicted murderer, has some really controversial political views and once upon a time, he created some of the finest Black Metal ever to be put on tape!
Although the two first statements might be the most important to many people, this review will, as it should, focus on the music of Burzum, not the views of the man behind the band and the question is, does Burzum still live up to their/his musical fame of yore?
Nowadays, as in after Varg got released from prison in 2009, every new Burzum album is a bit of a gamble, either it will be a Black Metal album in the vein of the comeback album “Belus”, either will it be some ambient stuff, reminiscent to the synthesizer albums Burzum recorded and released during Varg’s imprisonment, and as I find Varg’s own statement, that the only music he is capable to make is Black Metal, to be true I’ll guess that what I hoped for with ”Thûlean Mysteries” is quite clear.
Unfortunately this album has nothing to do with metal at all, but is one long journey into the ambient presentation of Varg’s pagan beliefs, and with “long“ I mean really long as the 23 songs clocks in at almost one and a half hour…
In the beginning of the album the pagan themes, except for the song titles, aren’t that obvious and consist of calm instrumental tunes with ”A thûlean Perspective” sticking out with its almost jazzy feeling but after the first couple of tunes, a more recognizable Burzum is heard, with a more basic ambient feeling and ”pagan” repetitive chantings. And by the way, repetitive is the key word on ”Thûlean Myseries” as most songs consists of some melodic figure that is repeated into eternity.
Most songs are instrumental with some additional chantings but some of them have actual lyrics and as long as Varg use his native tongue, like in ”The Great Sleep” (which, although its English title has lyrics in Norwegian) it doesn’t sound that bad, but as soon as Varg tries on the English language it’s hard not to get annoyed by his ”not so much Anglo-Saxon” pronunciation.
Although it’s quite clear that Burzum indeed own an ability to both build up emotions as well as writing compelling melodies the utter boringness of the songs repetitive, transcendental nature is this albums downfall. Even if the ambient side of Burzum is far from a favourite to me I think some of the ideas on “Thûlean Mysteries” could have worked out fine if only someone had built real songs around them. As it is now, the album works as background noise while doing something else, but help me God/Satan/Odin, if I had to take one more turn with “Thûlean Mysteries”, concentrating on the actual music…
Only for die hard fans of Varg.
Title: Thûlean Mysteries
Label: Byelobog Productions
Date of release: 13/03-20
Playing time: 1h 29min.
Stand out track: Jötunnheimr