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Burzum: Fallen

The controversial Varg Vikernes is back with the latest installment of the Burzum saga, titled Fallen. It is the eighth album overall released by Burzum, and second to come out since Vikernes left prison back in 2009. More melodic than the previous release Belus, Fallen contains plenty of old school black metal elements, but also a large reliance on folk and ambient textures. As such, there are a good amount of clean vocal passages to go along with the harsher, almost whispered rasps.

"Jeg Faller" is a prime example of the varied vocal styles you can expect on Fallen. Complete with jagged, tremelo picked guitar riffs and insistent drum blasts, Vikernes alternates between soft, narrative rasps, more forceful wailing, melodic spoken word passages, and lush tones that are somewhat similar to Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. Cold, raw guitar tones permeate "Valen", which has more of a death metal feel to it thanks to the chunkier riffing and mix of death growls with the more traditional black metal rasps. "Vanvidd" however returns to frenzied black metal blasting, a throwback to the early 90's Norwegian scene, chock full of repetitive riffs and blast beats, plus Varg's cavernous vocal bellows. His hushed tones on "Enhver til Sitt" will send chills up your spine, even more so than the harsh shrieks, and his inventive riffing on "Budstikken" prove that there's more to this musician than meets the eye. At over 10 minutes in length, this tune takes you on a progressive black metal journey that you'll be sure to enjoy. Closing track "Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen" is pure avant-garde, featuring oddly played percussion, and various clinks and clanks from an assortment of instruments. Totally not what you'd expect, but it ends Fallen in a tranquil way.

Whether Varg Vikernes can separate his criminal past from his aspirations as a musician, writer, and composer remains to be seen, but judging by Fallen, he certainly has plenty of creativity in his tank. If you like your raw black metal with plenty of folk, ambient, and progressive elements, you've come to the right place.

Track Listing
1) Fra Verdenstreet
2.) Jeg Faller
3.) Valen
4.) Vanvidd
5.) Enhver til Sitt
6.) Budstikken
7.) Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen

Added: February 22nd 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 3565
Language: english

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Burzum: Fallen
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-02-22 18:34:02
My Score:

Since his release from prison in May of 2009, Varg Vikernes has once again become a prolific black metal machine. Fallen, the second Burzum album released in the span of one year, shows the infamous Norwegian legend with a redefined sound and some great black metal to go along with it. This album shows a new side to Varg's genius as a composer - the extensive use of clean vocals and folk metal influences add a new dimension to Burzum that we've never seen before. Although this can't compete with masterpieces like Hvis Lyset Tar Oss (in my opinion), it's another essential chapter in the legend of Burzum. Anyone who wants to call themselves a black metal fan better make sure Fallen finds its way into their collection at some point.

Varg Vikernes is one of my favorite (if not my absolute favorite) black metal musicians, so expect a bit of bias in this review. Burzum was always about exploring previously unexplored territories, and Fallen continues in this fashion. Although this is firmly rooted in Norwegian black metal, expect more folk and progressive rock influences than we've ever heard in a Burzum album. The ambient influences that dominated Varg's releases prior to his incarceration are scarce, but it doesn't affect the quality for me. Fallen opens up with a brief intro before transitioning into my favorite track on the entire album - the masterful "Jeg Faller". Filled with irresistible riffs and excellent clean vocals from Varg Vikernes, this is undoubtedly a highlight on the album. The rest of the album continues in a similar direction (without ever sounding "samey"), before closing with the epic "Budstikken" and the avant-garde "Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen".

Of course, the musicianship on Fallen is excellent. Varg Vikernes is a genius who has mastered many instruments, and that's extremely apparent here. The production is very raw, and took some time for me to get used to, but I now think it suits the music perfectly and sounds excellent.

Burzum has always been a legend in Norwegian black metal and, even 20 years after its formation, Varg is still cranking out top-notch black metal releases. I'd recommend all fans of old school black metal with plenty of variation to definitely take a look into Fallen. Although this can't compete with Burzum's mid-90's masterpieces, it's still a warm recommendation from me. I'll give Fallen an excellent 4 stars. Hail Burzum!

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