Review: Burzum "Belus" 2010 by Raging Power WZ

"Ah, Varg Vikernes." The name itself, when said out loud, either guarantees you a devil horned salute or a middle finger thrust into the air depending on what you're feelings about this man are. Now I'm not going to get into the whole history of what went down in Norway so many years ago, nor Vikernes' personal beliefs because I'm tired of hearing about it and I'm sure a lot of metal fans are also bored with all the rehashes. I'm here to discuss the music only. With that said, let me tell you about the aural assualt that has brought something fresh to the metal scene.

Vikerness' latest opus deals with the solar deity known as Belus and according to the man himself was written before, during, and after prison. What does Belus sound like? If you're looking for comparisons, I'd have to go with 1996's Filosofem. BUT, it goes a bit further than that. Along with Vikerness' black metal style screams are more clean vocals as well which adds a terrific dimension to the music. Keyboards? They are absent from this album and to me this isn't a bad thing. I've always thought Burzum's best material was guitar oriented and the keyboard ambiance of his later material left me cold.

Now onto the next question. "Is Belus black metal?" Depends on who you ask. If you give the question to Vikerness, he'll say," No." If you ask me, I'd say "YES" though it's not completely 100% black metal riffs. There's an obvious speed metal influence in Belus. You couple this with the added clean vocals and you have an album that's starting to push out of the boundaries of black metal, giving the genre a fresh sound.

My only gripe about this CD is the wasteful thirty three second ambient piece "Lukans Renkespill" which is supposed to be a hammer hitting an anvil but sounds more like someone dropping a paint can over and over. Do yourself a favor and skip this track.

All in all, I find Belus to be a terrific album which not only proves that Vikerness still has it but also shows lot's of promise for the future of Burzum. Recommended tracks: Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning, Keliohesten.

Stefan Goshorn (© 2010 Raging Power WZ)

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