Burzum -- Filosofem
Burzum - Filosofem
For as long as music has existed, there has always been some portion that has belonged to something along the lines of what one might call the following: 'unordinary', 'mystic', 'dark', and so on and so forth as one wishes.
As readily obvious/apparent, some albums are gifted and geared more towards these predilections and tendencies than others. Some about mysticism... some the night (and everything encompassed within)... and even more... from the obscure tales of goblins, demons, castles, dungeons, bards and the like to darker and less-cerebral invocations of Satan himself... and the unknown.
On the surface, Burzum's third full-length album--"Filosofem"-- seems to intrinsically (and purposefully) eccentrically embody and typify all of these aforementioned qualities (from the transient nature of the vocal presence, being both dominant and under-stated concurrently, to the thinned-out synthesizer that has a marked tendency to lull the listener in and out of semi-conscious states)-- the night, darkness, goblins, murder, dungeons and the like.
However, this is a mere given and such conclusions are based on the superficial evidence (when one considers the lone bugler arrayed on the album cover).
Digging much deeper, one finds it is much different (almost the opposite) in due nature than they might originally be lead (or mislead) to surmise, give that they do not give it much heed.
This album is evocative of all of these tendencies and feelings and much, much more, from ingratiating simplicity to latent complexity.
Perhaps the most superior endowment on this album is is how the instruments consistently mold together to fit the array of the musician... and the images he is so willingly attempting to invoke/conjure.
The synthesizer is semi-asserted throughout and constantly topples in the way of the main mix--vocals, guitars, bass and drums-- to make its presence known.
The 3 more pronounced examples that come to the brain at the moment are "Beholding the Daughters of the Firmament", "Dunkelheit", ("darkness" in German) and "Jesu Død". The third track, which is perhaps his most visible and lauded work he is to craft (next to "Dunkelheit", obviously) is endowed with an extremely fast tremelo-pick. At first, it may seem out of place on the album when one compares its very nature to that of the first 2 (Dunkelheit and Beholding...).
It soon finds its own place, though. Everything works together here-- the dominantly prevalent buzz of the stark lead electric guitar, the slow-to-mid-paced bombardment of the percussion, the screeching of the vocals coupled with a simultanesous statically-hazy undertone to go with them, and the creeping skip of the synthesizer and keyboards as they transversely navigate through the over-stated rest of the mix--, no matter how trivial some aspects may seem at a first sudden glance.
These elements, if otherwise absent, would inherently leave the album teetering on the brink of incompetence... but that is not the case here.
If I were to painstakingly attempt to assign a very number of things that embody what a congenial black metal/ambient album is supposed to superficially embody on the outside, this would not only be the prototypical example I would use, but also the epitomization of that particular style.
This offering, fortunately, has become what Vikernes is most known for (next to his obvious acts he committed on Euronymous in Norway).
As aforementioned, the very nature of the synthesizer in the mix has a tendency to teener in-and-out of the mix, however out of place or trivial it may seem, it is a very essential and idiosyncratic element that makes this album what it is.
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About The Writer
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.