Oh look, an article on a new Burzum album; let’s all highlight stuff we already know… not this time. At this point in time we all know the political and somewhat controversial theme around Varg Vikernes and Burzum, however, this is not an article on any of that. Let’s just get stuck into the music.
I have read many an article slandering the new Burzum album titled “Umskiptar” and even among people I interact with on a regular basis that believe their opinions are at all relevant. The majority of which did not like the new approach taken by Varg in his new album at all.
Mindless black metal elitists have informed me time and time again that the older more analogue stuff is where it’s at, as we all know by now, these people are morons and have no sense of musical composition whatsoever. In all respect, I feel that Varg is one of the only musicians to not stick to the tried and tested black metal approach (along side Darkthrone of course), however, this isn’t really a black metal album at all, in fact, if you look at the characteristics of a traditional black metal album.
I had a different opinion on Mr. Vikernes’ latest compositions. I did some research and when I say research; I mean… well, you know what I mean. The album “Umskiptar” is based on a Norse poem and all the lyrics is from this poem. The poem is called “Völuspá”. Umskiptar means Metamorphosis in the English language.
The album focuses on more of a metaphorical aspect in terms of pointing out that the world is in many ways heading for a new ice age, metaphorically it should be seen as a critique on all the political movements of our day and age. So, in many ways pointing out the brainwash and indoctrination inherit in the system. Careful punk/crust fans, you will not enjoy this album.
This being said, it is still very much the same Varg and the same Burzum, just a more intelligent way of depicting his disgust, very metaphorically with use of Norse literature. A slightly different vocal style and it is pretty mellow in terms of pace.
This album is very much focused on creating more of an atmosphere and wholeness in terms of the pagan mythology and the roots of its people in many aspects, well in all aspects. Once again, Varg has done exactly what he wanted to and in many ways this different approach is very refreshing. It does remind me a lot of “Daudi Baldrs” in a way, definitely in terms of atmosphere. Varg has once again shown that he does the music for himself and for nothing or no one else, which I do respect. The album has a very classical aspect to it, musically, but also keeps some of his traditional riff writing and song writing, very neatly complementing one another.
With this album, you either like it or you hate it, there is no in between. It is very atmospheric and I feel that each listener will identify that on a personal level. Therefore I’ll leave it up to you guys to sample it and see for yourself. Some of my favourite tracks on the album include “Alfadanz”, “Æra”, “Galgviðr” and “Gullaldr”.
The album consists of 11 tracks and weighs in at just over and hour. It is very atmospheric and folk like in many aspects, but the traditional Burzum guitar riff structure is very much still present in a few of the tracks. So, if you are keen on a journey based on Norse mythology that speaks to you on a metaphorical and intellectual level, by all means pick up this album. I did warn you it is very different from his other works, but that being said, it is also very special.
P.S. Not for dimwitted black metal morons, enjoy.