For many people, the old school black metal is difficult to listen to because of its low production quality. However, for others, this is a big part of its appeal. After metal music became over commercialized in the 1980’s, the scene of Norwegian Black Metal that emerged in the late 80’s/early 90’s was appealing in a primordial, and natural kind of way. The music seemed a sort of dark, pagan magic re-emerging into a world that had become fake and synthetic.
Burzum evokes a gritty brutality that is quite captivating. Burzum itself means ‘darkness’ in the Black Speech, a fictional language from Lord of the Rings. The song above came from the album ‘Det som engang var.’ The album cover was visually inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. So there is obviously an interest in fantasy at work here.
Varg himself, the man behind the Burzum solo act is quite the controversial figure. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the murder of Mayhem guitarist Øystein ‘Euronymous’ Aarseth and the arson of three churches. What’s interesting is that Varg stabbed Euronymous a few days after the release of the album listed above.
After Varg’s release from prison in 2009 he recorded three further black metal albums.
Varg is also a controversial figure for his racist and anti-semitic views. However, amidst a lot of his rantings about race and the Jews, he does sometimes have some pretty brilliant things to say about the return to the ancient wisdom and truth.
Here is piece of an interview with him from the movie ‘Until The Light Takes Us.’ (The background music is Bathroy’s ‘One Rode to Asa Bay’)
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.