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Burzum's third album is cited by many as the definitive black metal album, which indicates that these individuals have a very different interpretation of the genre to most. It's certainly as definitive as it comes to an expression of Count Grishnackh/ Varg Vikernes/Burzum's personal creative vision, one that its more well-known successor 'Filosofem' would similarly achieve albeit with less even results, but those who approach black metal for its unparalleled intensity will doubtless be turned off by the long songs, strong keyboard presence, ponderous tendencies and fifteen-minute ambient finale, though there's still plenty of time given over to the traditional. Indeed, Norse tradition seems to be the key element of the Burzum ideology.
The first song in particular is likely the finest thing the Count ever recorded, alongside 'Dunkelheit' from the next album, and it's fifteen of the most exceptional minutes ever recorded in black metal. Those expecting relentless blast beat drums and raging vocals would be more suited to tracks two and three, which follow a similar, albeit more refined style supplemented by keyboards, but 'Det Som En Gang Var' (curiously the same name as the previous album, with different spelling) concerns itself with a phenomenally catchy riff and some excellent ethereal keyboards in an incredible combination that never becomes tiresome, though it has to be said that the final minutes of the song are less riveting than the first ten, which are constantly changing to introduce further lead guitar, keyboard and vocal elements over the repeating core. If only Vikernes hadn't been imprisoned, the world could have been treated to more masterpieces like this, but then he had to go and kill Euronymous.
Without getting bogged down in the politics of the black metal scene that it's impossible to overlook when it comes to the creator of this music, who would soon be imprisoned for murdering his former associate, not to mention all the churches he'd personally set fire to, 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' is quite a spectacular album that clearly displays Vikernes' musical genius, even if it doesn't translate quite as well to vinyl/CD as it perhaps did in his head, not that you'd ever want to venture there. The final song is particularly interesting, an ambient piece performed entirely by keyboard that moves on from a fairly standard atmospheric piece into one of the most beautiful recordings in heavy metal.
If the last seven minutes of this song had been recorded by Vangelis for a sentimental film soundtrack, we'd hear it streamed across TV advertisements everywhere, but for being composed by a convicted and ever-so-slightly evil man in an obscure Norwegian one-man black metal band, it's destined to be a secret treat enjoyed by a small target audience. This album is fantastic, but it could have been even better.
1. Det Som En Gang Var
2. Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
3. In I Stottet Fra Droemmen
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Det Som en Gang Var
2 Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
3 Inn I Slottet Fra Droemmen