Burzum Dauði Baldrs

Burzum Dauði BaldrsA worthwhile commentary on this puzzling album would entail a discussion of the mystery of Baldr’s death, it is possible to appreciate this album purely on its musical numinosity. It would not be inaccurate to say that this is one of the most powerful, pure and clear statements by Burzum; second in that sense only to Filosofem. This qualification is not a reflection of the preference of the writer himself, who rather leans towards Det Som Engang Var, for its use of ritual and melodic metal to formulate a unique voice in black metal; it is simply the categorization of the art works based on their own qualities and a judgement as to their strength and return to purity. What this means exactly is left for the thoughtful reader to study and ponder.

Dauði Baldrs consists strictly of keyboard-produced melodies and synthetic effects such as timpani and cymbals. While extremely repetitive, it is not formulaic in the least; that is to say that each of the individual pieces follows a distinct plan that does not display traces of any structural template in particular. Consistency of style is preserved not only in the narrow selection of material sounds from the synthetic library of the keyboard, but in the way a minimal texture is handled.

The music very rarely expands beyond two voices, and it is often a kind of homophony with a melody of few notes over eight bars in period form (antecedent-consequent) that runs over a few root tones or chords. We also find something of a more monophonic (only one melody line) character with added root tone that only varies enough to provide a sense of movement but which for all intents and purposes does not leave the root for too long. Sometimes, two melodies occur at once, but this is reserved for highlight, transition and a kind of climax.

Dauði Baldrs should probably be considered a synthesis of the spirit of Burzum in its condensed and mature form. If one can bear with the repetition and take it as a meditation then the music works its magic. The character of the music is both melancholic with a tone of the mysterious more than the explicitly mystic, which is often not the point but a quality of Burzum’s music in general. It takes the supra-personal, transcendental, concern of Det Som Engang Var for an individual’s inner connection to an ancient past for which keys lie strewn around in nature, and thus also in correspondent places within himself, and filters it through the atmospheric pensiveness of the more settled treatment found in Filosofem.

The resulting work of art is further affected by the material shortcomings that afflicted Vikernes at the time of its writing and recording. This limitation did not stop the artist but rather worked to further purify the music into its clearest manifestation thus far. As it was clearest, it was also the most obscure in the eyes of a mundane audience for whom the mystery of transcendental music is invisible when it is most visible. There is something else for which the superior artist cannot be commended enough: the music speaks for itself and brings a universe into being; whatever other qualities it has and descriptions that, however accurate, are simply abstracted ways of communicating something about it, and are never a substitute for the clear emotional and spiritual essence found in it.

Selecciones de Fin de Año MMXVI

"Volvimos con afán a nuestras lecturas, y repasamos, una vez más, las historias y leyendas de La Antigua, que tan vagamente arrullaron nuestra infancia. Amábamos intensamente aquella ciudad como a una madre misteriosa que nos alimentara de fábulas y de fantasías; imaginándonos que ella transmitió a nuestras almas ese cálido anhelo de lo ignoto y esa irresistible pasión por el pasado que nos embriagaban de ilusión y de dolor. Por ella, sin duda, por haber nacido en su seno fecundo en quimeras, éramos tan vibrantes, tan sensitivos y tan torturados por el implacable torcedor del pensamiento. Por ella nos amábamos con un amor tan intenso y tan dulce, sobre el que sentíamos pasar un soplo trágico, aún en nuestras horas más puras y deliciosas. La amábamos quizá con más dolor que placer, comprendiendo que todo lo que en nosotros se agitaba de extraordinario y de triste, lo debíamos— fuera de nuestro singular organismo, en que se marcara, tal vez, algún maléfico sello ancestral— a su ambiente propicio a las abstractas soñaciones, a su antaño que nos saturó de su fúnebre poesía y a la melancólica belleza de su paisaje, que semeja una florida necrópolis, digna de acoger para siempre en su recinto a las mujeres más espirituales y a los soñadores más ilustres." --Froylán Turcios

“Volvimos con afán a nuestras lecturas, y repasamos, una vez más, las historias y leyendas de La Antigua, que tan vagamente arrullaron nuestra infancia. Amábamos intensamente aquella ciudad como a una madre misteriosa que nos alimentara de fábulas y de fantasías; imaginándonos que ella transmitió a nuestras almas ese cálido anhelo de lo ignoto y esa irresistible pasión por el pasado que nos embriagaban de ilusión y de dolor. Por ella, sin duda, por haber nacido en su seno fecundo en quimeras, éramos tan vibrantes, tan sensitivos y tan torturados por el implacable torcedor del pensamiento. Por ella nos amábamos con un amor tan intenso y tan dulce, sobre el que sentíamos pasar un soplo trágico, aún en nuestras horas más puras y deliciosas. La amábamos quizá con más dolor que placer, comprendiendo que todo lo que en nosotros se agitaba de extraordinario y de triste, lo debíamos— fuera de nuestro singular organismo, en que se marcara, tal vez, algún maléfico sello ancestral— a su ambiente propicio a las abstractas soñaciones, a su antaño que nos saturó de su fúnebre poesía y a la melancólica belleza de su paisaje, que semeja una florida necrópolis, digna de acoger para siempre en su recinto a las mujeres más espirituales y a los soñadores más ilustres.”
–Froylán Turcios


§ Algunas palabras


Se ha decidido aquí seguir el espíritu que se adjudica esta empresa de arte y su curación: sub specie aeternitatis. No pondremos aquí ningún trabajo que no creamos digno de ser recordado para la posteridad como un trabajo total, no solamente satisfactorio sino como una obra sin reproches, total, holística, coherente y contenida dentro de sí misma.

En esto sigo mi propio sentido, el cual es falible, además de que estoy seguro de no poder estar al tanto de todas las publicaciones del mundo. Hay tanto ruido y estorbo que es muy difícil tener el tiempo para encontrar lo que realmente vale. De cierta manera, los álbumes que resaltaré son meramente el reflejo de mi gusto y criterio en este momento. Le dejo la labor más dura y objetiva de seleccionar el “mejor metal del año” en distintos grados a individuos que tradicionalmente lo hacen muy bien. Me tomo la libertad también de incluir algunos álbumes que no se publicaron en este mismo año pero que descubrí o redescubrí en los últimos meses, tomando inspiración del método de otros.

Dicho esto, cabe mencionar que aunque la música usualmente muestra su valía real después de muchos años, es posible, con algo de experiencia, juicio e intuición, discernir a que le falta una chispa de talento o inspiración original a nivel musical de primeras a primeras, y a lo que podemos dejar en un tal vez. Contra esto habrá mucha vociferación impertinente e ignorante “igualitaria”, pero eso tiene poca importancia.

Para cerrar, es pertinente aclarar que si bien aquí nos concentramos sobre música metal de un tipo y orientación bastante específico, este no es un sitio acerca de metal per se, pero si sobre metal y otras clases de formatos como canales y medios hacia ciertos sitios y estados mentales. Queda como tarea de cada lector y oyente descubrir cual es la dirección y espíritu mencionados.


§ Fantasmas del pasado


obscureages1

Abyssum — Obscure Ages

 Esta es una serie de demos grabados en un ambiente crudo los cuales fueron luego editados, agregándoseles capas de sintetizadores y efectos. Las grabaciones originales se hicieron entre los años de 1996 y 1998. Su compositor las guardó todos estos años hasta que llegó el momento, hace unos meses, en el cual le pareció propicio sacarlos a la luz.  Se imprimieron copias limitadas y se han distribuido localmente adentro de Guatemala nada más, aunque habemos algunos que tenemos los dedos cruzados por tener la oportunidad de tener una copia en nuestras manos.

El autor tiene la fortuna de estar, todavía, en las buenas gracias del artista detrás de este proyecto tan enigmático como obscuramente cautivador. Dicha situación ha hecho posible que se pueda escribir aquí un comentario corto después de haber experimentado la que es posiblemente la obra más obscura de Abyssum hasta la fecha. Cada una de las grabaciones de Abyssum son evoluciones de temas cuyos esqueletos e ideas principales fueron compuestas a mediados de los años noventa. Sin embargo, en las Edades Obscuras hay mucho material que no se escucha ni en grabaciones anteriores ni posteriores.

En general, hay algo tenebrosamente fino acerca de la música de Abyssum, pero entre la locura minimalista de los arreglos y los efectos muy bien planeados se suscita aquí una atmósfera incomparablemente terrorífica que ha hecho correr escalofríos por mi espina cuando capturo sus momentos y detalles con atención y en el estado mental correcto. Mientras que en Thy Call lo que encontramos es un adentramiento en la imagen astral de los bosques y montañas, y en Poizon of god algo como una emanación e influjo de los ritmos celestiales a través del vacío infinito, en las Edades Obscuras la palabra que más se asoma en mi mente es específicamente BRUJERÍA. Suave, sutil, aterradora, desgarradora, fatal y sensual brujería. La brujería como el poder humano en comunión con el subsuelo, el agua, la sangre y la luna.


Graveland — Carpathian Wolves – Rehearsal 1993

 Podría parecer excesivo el traer un demo de Graveland a colación en el año 2016 si las publicaciones oficiales de la banda en aquellos años, incluyendo el Carpathian Wolves original de 1994, ya eran poseedoras de ese famoso necro-sonido en las dosis perfectas, que permitía que se escucharan los instrumentos claramente mientras atacaba al oyente como lobo que escupe un aullido en su cara. Sin embargo, habemos quienes encontramos el valor en demos y ensayos siempre y cuando el contenido musical se encuentre allí, los cuales dejan ver cierto grado des espontaneidad y creatividad momentánea que generalmente se neutraliza durante la grabación oficial para obtener un producto más formal y firme. Siendo así, es posible que lo que encontremos aquí no sea para todos; quizás demasiado acuoso o lodoso, lo cual es mucho decir considerando el suculento sonido del álbum oficial.

No hay vocales ni sintetizadores en las seis de las grabaciones del ensayo principal, permitiéndonos así apreciar la música en detalle. Se muestra, en mi opinión, notablemente más flexible y viva que la meditación constante y repetitiva que notamos en el Thousand Swords que le sigue a este álbum. Son, definitivamente, experimentos muy distintos que muestran a un Robert Fudali de mente exploradora e inquisitiva respecto a las dimensiones y límites de su sonido único. El ramaje frondoso de su estilo ha sido plagiado sin obtener los mismos resultados, por estar este tan fuertemente arraigado en la personalidad del artista que sirve como suelo invisible mas rico en nutrientes.

Carece quizás, este ensayo, del tono más militante que vemos nacer en el álbum oficial, mas por los espacios naturales creados en un ambiente vivo y situación menos controlada o editada, sentimos el culebreo de la energía cruzar la obscuridad y el rayo que parte de la tierra que pisamos surgir en torcida columna atravesando nuestro cuerpo hasta tocar cielos y nubes sobre nuestra cabeza. La sensación que podemos capturar es acaso menos compacta, pero por ende más liberada, más expansiva y no menos clara. Las curvas se describen más claramente, el respirar del músico es palpable y el contraste entre los parajes visitados más pronunciado sin causar un choque que le reste a la naturalidad enfática del desempeño.


§ Redescubrimiento y coronación


Burzum — Filosofem

 Aquellos quienes aman la música de Burzum siempre están en constante debate en cuanto a cual sería el álbum definitivo del proyecto. La inquisitiva nunca ha tenido, ni por cerca, una respuesta definitiva. Entre más cercano se es a la música de Burzum, el individuo mismo tendrá épocas en las que se acerca más a una de sus obras y otras en las que pareciese migrar hacia el sentimiento de alguna posterior o anterior. Al ser comparado la presente obra con las anteriores se puede vislumbrar un sentimiento de opacamiento, maduración y finalidad.

En aquella época éste fue el último álbum de metal que se publicó bajo el nombre del proyecto; la mano escribiente estando tras las rejas por crímenes cometidos y no cometidos haciéndolas de chivo expiatorio, tornó su atención entonces hacia la música sencilla de sintetizadores. Se ven en Filosofem, antes de ese cambio, una colección de influencias que ya han sido refinadas y destiladas al punto que su forma manifestada es innegablemente Burzum, tanto en su formato black metal “atmosférico” como se le conoció después, como en las pistas de guitarra eléctrica ambient tanto como en su extraña y muy repetitiva pista a lo dungeon synth cuyas sutilezas pocos saben apreciar y mucho menos utilizar.

Es un hecho casi indiscutido que Burzum representa una influencia inmensa para todo el género, pero pocos entienden la relevancia musical y ultra musical que emana mucha de su música. Muchos son los que se ven confundidos por la aparente simplicidad de la música de Burzum, pues su complejidad no se encuentra en el exterior, en la rapidez de dedos o en el amontonamiento de arpegios, sino en la evolución perceptiva y natural de pistas y obra entera. Sus álbumes son monumentos vivos a la creación orgánica y unitaria del universo, especialmente en su expresión de vida terrestre.

Filosofem, cuarto álbum de una serie de clásicos irrefutables del género, fue grabado cuando su autor, Varg Vikernes, acababa de cumplir los 20 años de edad. Arrogante individuo, sin lugar a dudas y con mucha razón, mas de inmensa valía.

burzum filosofem lp inside


§ Susurros de la Serpiente


S.V.E.S.T. — Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum

Fácil es confundir este monstruo de obra con la bazofia que compartió un espacio con ella cuando se le lanzó en un split con los charlatanes de Deathspell Omega. Mas cuando se le inspecciona en detalle, tanto de manera técnica en cuanto a su composición así como en la percepción intuitiva de su flujo y proporciones, descubrimos en la mitad de S.V.E.S.T. una articulación musical coherente, aunque algo alocada, en una sucesión de momentos atados de manera suelta pero temática, con varios riffs aparentemente creciendo a partir de raíces motíficas similares. La curva narrativa se mira afectada por distorsión compositiva y la necesidad de expresar lo diabólico que ha de ser, por necesidad interna, confuso y arrebatador.

Podríamos delinear similitudes de aura e intensidad entre esta obra de S.V.E.S.T. y el Channeling the Quintessence of Satan de Abigor la cual, al menos en mi mente, intenta traer a nuestra esfera la misma clase y calidad de energías. Pero donde los franceses pisan cuidadosamente cada frase de invocación, los austriacos parecieran tomar la ruta de un caos más literal, como en un ritual de frenesí. En aquel punto no había Abigor abandonado todavía toda metodología respetable de música y logró así crear una metáfora de ese desorden y energía desenfrenada en una creación plasmada en detalles rococós. S.V.E.S.T. se muestra más sabedor de su arte y encaja metáfora, propiedad musical y trascendencia holística en una obra de black metal que se aproxima a la metodología del rock progresivo original de la década de los setenta.


El peligro uiene en ſuaves ſilbidos,
cortos e non tan prolongados, quebrando
la ſerenidad del qve lleua, ſu ignorancia
con paciencia, qve a la precaución enajena.

¡Criatvra de mis fatales paſiones,
indolente ante el deſcuidado qve tvrba,
tvs dominios alçados por tvs intentos
de preuenir, el pie qve pueda mancillar tv ondulante forma!

E en la negrura de la naturaleza,
qve deſprende ſus formas, temible e miſterioſas,
ſobreſales uictorioſa, con tv hechizante cola,
qve ſe agita, commo campana caſcada de vna ygleſia oluidada.

E en tv ira pendiente, mueſtras, patrona de las tragedias;
la curuidad ſutil de tvs marfilados colmillos,
donde la mverte ordeña con paſión e eſmero,
tvs tan conocidos e temidos venenos.

E eb el uiejo edén, donde los amantes de las primeras luxurias,
enſayaban nuevos placeres, para extaſiar, en completo delirio,
a ſus fiel eſpectador, de naturaleza mórbida,
qve obſerva en las alturas, ſu reino lleno de arrepentimiento,

diſte, a los tendidos amantes, luego de vn gozo prolongado,
la tentación inmenſa de vn ardor curioſo, mas tentador,
qve el ardor qve deſtilan dos cuerpos diſpueſtos a vencerſe con paſión.

—’La Serpiente’ de Adamas Noctum, El Fuego del Shalhebiron


§ Ecos de un tiempo mejor, acaso olvidado


vindalv

Vindalv — Æptir Pushende Ar

Un mágico viaje se nos presenta en un formato conocido por algunos como Dungeon Synth, lo cual de por sí define ya el tono sombrío e impersonal característico de este genero. Algunos describirían esto como melancólico, pero ésta no es precisamente la palabra adecuada. El tono y la atmósfera no se limita al sentimiento de un ser, y parece más bien envolverlo todo y encarnar el flujo de energías en dimensiones espaciales y temporales eónicas. Vindalv, sin embargo, nos cuenta más ayudados por una fineza técnica en la composición que les permite modular más y también hablar de algo más cercano a la perspectiva humana, al menos cuando ésta dirigía su atención a sus alrededores naturales y no había sido entorpecida por la tecnología.

Hay mucho que explorar, experimentar y absorber en Æptir Pushende Ar, aunque parezca este haber sido olvidado en las mareas del tiempo. El tipo de obra musical merece ser olvidada por todos menos quienes la puedan apreciar. No vendría a nada distribuirla entre más personas que seguramente no comenzarían a poder apreciarla. El curar música oculta que nunca fue producida a nivel comercial o masivo es la protección de tesoros escondidos. Joyas de mucho valor espiritual e introspectivo se han de encontrar por nosotros y por generaciones en el futuro para inspirarlos en vida y obra propia.


Knut Hamsun — La Bendición de la Tierra

La historia de este libro trata de la llegada de Isak a una región de bosque apartada de Noruega cuya habitación más cercana es un pequeñísimo pueblo que yace una distancia considerable. Seguimos su vida, su esfuerzo, sus pesares y sus triunfos a través de décadas. Mas no es este una historia sobre dramatizada o afectada, más bien notamos que el énfasis del autor está en el valor del sobrellevar obstáculos, sin negar ni aminorar en su narración la gravedad de las circunstancias. Es también La Bendición de la Tierra una alabanza del trabajo duro y juicioso del colono y granjero, sin dejar de mostrar las trampas en las que caen y las desventajas en las que se ven usualmente cuando viene algún pícaro o señor de negocios de las ciudades.

Esta obra del autor noruego Knut Hamsun llega a nuestras manos traducida a un español sobrio, austero y con mucha clase. Las oraciones sencillas y el experto juego de perspectivas, tiempo y tono engañan, y hasta pueden pasar desapercibidas al comienzo. A medida que transcurre el libro uno se va dando cuenta de los dotes del escritor tanto en su técnica como en su sensibilidad y empatía para con personajes de toda clase. Encontramos también una ligereza entre lo jovial y lo turbio, entre lo suave y lo abrupto. Knut Hamsun logra una union magistral de opuestos al punto que estos se disuelven, dándonos una imagen clara y pura de la vida tal y como es para quienes pueden entender dicha disolución.

Burzum The Ways of Yore

Burzum The Ways of Yore has, in the two years which have elapsed since its publication, received a very odd mixture of reactions.  It has either been completely shunned as the work of a madman writing nonsensical empty music, or intuited to be a work of deep spirituality by those attuned to the simple and balanced as a way to beauty.  I am willing to assert that the reason for this is that it operates completely outside the paradigm of modern music.

The music is a mixture between Burzum’s ambient-styled tracks and ancient European music as one would hear in the Anglo-Saxon harp/lyre style1, for instance.  The result leans heavily towards the latter, however, leaving even fans of Burzum who only perceive form but not essence at a loss. As a whole, Burzum’s transition from black metal forms into dark ambient ones, and then further into ancient-traditiona Europeanl hybrid crossings with his own ambient intuitions served as a clear separator amongst the audience. It separated those who attune to the music’s basic elements and are not nailed to modern prejudices or the necessity of being convinced by words and apparent conjurations.

Some among the most ignorant in the audience may want to jump at the swastikas they see on the cover, even going as far as condemning it as a covert sign of white supremacy excusing itself with the fact that swastikas were present in Buddhism hundreds of years ago and continue to be used to this very day.  What is required here is a lesson in the symbol of the Swastika and its 12,000-year-old history.

“The earliest swastika ever found was uncovered in Mezine, Ukraine, carved on an ivory figurine, which dates an incredible 12,000 years, and one of the earliest cultures that are known to have used the Swastika was a Neolithic culture in Southern Europe, in the area that is now Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, known as the Vinca Culture, which dates back around 8,000 years.”

—Ancient Origins, ‘The symbol of the Swastika and its 12,000-year-old history’

The allusion is made to ancient pagan and naturalist religions of Europe existing long before the invasion of the desert religions2, and surviving in mutilated and morphed forms in spite of it.  A good companion to this album, apart from the obvious Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism by Varg Vikernes himself, are books like The Mabigonion, a cycle of Welsh legends translated in 1877 by Lady Charlotte Guest.


1 One of the most prominent performers of the ancient lyre today is Michael Levy. Ironically, he has increasingly been promoted as a player of Greek traditional music despite his true background and experience, perhaps as a very smart marketing move towards a more profitable market.
An at least cursory understanding of the themes and concepts explained by Sir James Frazer in his The Golden Bough is needed to grasp Varg Vikernes current stance on European art and traditions, I believe.

Varg Vikernes Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism

reflections_on_european_mythology_and_polytheismThe present book is, as the title suggests, a series of reflections and afterthoughts regarding the ancient and original European traditions now generally denominated as “paganism” (a word used by the Christian world to refer to anything different in a derogatory manner).  The study of European traditions is taken up and explored by Vikernes, not with the distanced aloofness of a scholar trying to match foreign theories to a strange phenomenon completely disconnected from himself, but as someone who cares for it as someone would care for a loved one  —a living thing in the full sense of the expression (for it certainly is, a point I am sure Vikernes would agree with).

The present article will briefly go through what the writer considers the main themes and their attitudes that stand out when one first reads this book.  It is important, however, to point out that it becomes apparent to the sensitive reader that Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism has a rather personal touch to it, like most of what Vikernes does, and one feels as if he were sitting close by talking and expounding on the topics at hand, immersing both himself and the listener in a magical well of knowledge that melds with experience.  It mixes the giving out of facts with insightful pointing out of relations and cross-references, sprinkling the discussion of certain topics throughout different texts so that they build up in the mind of the reader.

“To me only the beauty of European polytheism remains”

— Varg Vikernes, ‘The Lord of the Elves’

These are given in a rather unapologetic tone proper of esoteric treatises which do not make claim to a perfection of the text but which deem the reader worthy enough to receive the statements as they are and then proceed to judge on their own.  The mistaken modern view that  expects a writer to keep apologizing and self denigrating so that the reader does not think he is pretentious is a waste of energy, time and material resources.  If only people would consider content before rhetoric, and then proceed to the discourse only after they have understood the value and significance inherent in the content itself, something close to a proper understanding of things would be possible for the public.


§ Correction of outsider interpretations

aemilianus

Christians destroying symbols of European culture.

The most important feature of Vikernes’ writing and attitude that should be considered as the most important for even the casual reader is the attempt he is making at correcting the biased and often twisted view of ancient European traditions.  Somehow, in the sudden upsurge of views that sought to bring respect and awe for traditions of the East as well as American aboriginals and other foreign groups, the establishment forgot that before the invasion of Christianity, Europe also had equally valid and rich customs that deserved the same degree of respect.  Furthermore, they forgot that these being their own, they deserved an even larger amount of attention.

This may, at first, sound like bigotry, but it can be easily shown it is not when one points out that it is natural and proper that the Chinese person protects and seeks to understand the ancient cultural roots of his folk1; so are the Quiches of Guatemala encouraged and protected that they may cultivate their Mayan roots free of the invading oppression of colonial Christianity and sterile modernity.  Why should it be any different for the peoples of Europe?

“When I — arrogantly as some have claimed — said in the foreword to my book Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia that there are no good books (at least not in English, German or Scandinavian) out there about our mythology and religion, to some degree save The Golden Bough, by the anthropologist Sir James Frazer, this is what I mean; just about everything we know about our mythology from these books is seen through dense Judeo-Christian filters and interpreted in a Judeo-Christian light, it is twisted and distorted, and is unrecognisable.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘Shadows amongst the Ruins’

The point he makes is very important because while we have striven to correct our views on, for instance, Hinduism, so that we can try and understand (as far as that is possible for us as foreigners) them from their own perspective, no such attempt has been made by academia to understand the original traditions of Europe, we have been seen as lowly enemies by the invading and strangling thought of Christianity as an aristocratic way of controlling large masses of people.  Thus arose the image of the Witch-cult2 as an enemy of all that was “proper and good” in the eyes of the authorities throughout Europe, while these were most probably just the extreme expressions of the actual local culture.


1Mythos gives rise to Culture and Culture gives rise to Folk, and Folk gives rise to Race.”, K.

2 The reader may want to refer to Margaret Alice Murray’s book, The Witch-cult in Western Europe; though certainly not perfect and based on conjectures from sparse evidence, this is a book despised on an ideological level because it challenges the standard conception people have of Europe to the point that they start to panic when confronted with the idea of a Europe unified by underground expressions of original culture.


§ A physical and psychological naturalism

vikerneshome

It is important to clarify that, to the best of my knowledge, Varg Vikernes is a traditionalist of the most pragmatic kind. The esoteric overtones which his subject matter contains are cut down by him after the manner of Sir James Frazer himself, who saw anything beyond material explanations as mere superstition.  Now, Vikernes does not strike one as having this opinion, for he believes in inspiration and the power derived from symbols and stories.  For him, however, this is simply manifested on the psychological level that then may transfer that into physical action.

This in itself does not contradict occult thought and is perfectly in line with it.  But we can perceive from the text that nothing higher than that in the manner of spheres of existence or levels of manifestation are implied. For him, the interpretation is of the most flat one can give to Jungian explanations of a collective tradition functioning through interaction with the human unconscious.  What must be clarified here is that Vikernes is not a mystic per se, because there is no conscious and direct search for a purposely created space.

The naturalism that he seems to follow with stoic resolution, however, clearly opens up a channel and we see in him, his thought and his artistic work traces of greatness and inspiration.  It might be further observed that contrary to the pretentiousness of self-aware mystics or would-be occultists of the common variety who make overt attempts at being something by following trends in fashion and ways of speaking, there is no such attempt at pretending in Vikernes’ work.  On the contrary, we find a constant flow of observations, facts, and conclusions which are then sprinkled with stout opinions.

We see action before speech, we see concrete results and facts instead of the empty banter of he who claims to experience but has nothing to show for it.  Not that proving your personal journey to someone else is important, in fact, the contrary is closer to the truth.  But Varg Vikernes stands out as an honest man of deep thought who exemplifies through action who he wants to be, offering us in his book the results of his meditations, as it were, through the eye of his own knowledge and experience.


§ Judeo-Christianity as alien to European customs

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The other prominent theme that runs throughout the whole of Vikernes’ work is his emphasis the fact that Christianity as stemming from Judaism is an alien religion that was imposed on European peoples.  That this is still contested by the public at large is unsurprising for they have been brought up believing that Christianity is essentially a European religion.  It is incumbent upon the writer to reassure the reader that Christianity was in fact an artificially adopted tactic by the aristocracy which was then used as a tool to oppress and manipulate the native people of Europe.

We do not need to refer at all to any of the books written by Vikernes to confirm this as anyone acquainted closely with Charlemagne’s unification of Western Europe and his involvement and use of religion to this end will already understand this.  The reason why any conquering aristocracy might want to make use of Christianity rather than stick to old religions of local variations is simple: Christianity’s character is essentially universalist. This means that anyone and everyone should be brought under its banner. In this, it mirrors Islam, which seeks to spread its righteousness like black clouds over the whole of the world (and the universe, if they could).

To make a clear distinction here, completely unrelated to the book under discussion, although Judaism is the indisputable father of those two other monotheistic religions, they do not share that attitude of ideological conquering, for Judaism is more of a closed ethnic and tribal authentic tradition that seeks to separate itself from outsiders through custom and race.  Vikernes does not speak about Judaism itself except in some passing light remarks, but we here recommend the reader to inspect books such as Maurice H. Harris’ Hebraic Literature, to understand both differences and roots of Christianity and Islam in Judaism. It is, furthermore, important in understanding its difference with European tradition as seen in Germanic, Celtic and Hellenic traditions, for instance.

Europe has a unifying general concept throughout its geographical territory that is expressed in particular modes that can be easily and directly correlated without much effort.  These all express the values of individual freedom and the value of a personal strength of will, even when under a leader and a duty towards tribe.  This contrasts highly with Judeo-Christiantiy which is, as a famous philosopher once said, “slave morality”. European tradition is one imbued with pride and one that seeks to find its place within a nature it admires and worships as mother. The desert religions, on the other hand, see everything as given to them by god to use as they see fit, and they see humans or themselves as separate from it.  Fundamental contrasts like this one go on and on.

“Man has a free will and is left to find his own way around in the universe, but he is not free from the consequences or the impulses of nature.  In ancient times this free will was seen as a sorcerous tool; a man with a strong will could by the force of his sheer will cause different effects in the world.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘The Power of Will’


§ A glorious rebirth

Despite the permanent theme of European traditions in opposition to Christianity, the dominating tones in Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism remain in the reverential and calmly explanatory.  There is, furthermore, a very proud and hopeful outlook that believes in the rebirth of a European population that will reach back and connect with its original roots.  This is completely in line with the traditional beliefs of Europeans, which see after the twilight of the gods, the rule of new and perhaps lesser gods who then become the old gods themselves. This last bit cannot be understood correctly when Germanic/Scandinavian religion is sought to be Christianized or understood in terms of sterile anthropology or Freudian terms, but becomes readily apparent when understood and inspected from the inside out.

“Return to your roots! Like any tree out there, you too need your roots to survive: to grow tall and old, strong and beautiful.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘The Roots of Europe’

Me(n)tal Pathways

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Horgkomostropus logo advance by .:Ars LeproSA:.

In ancient times, a transcendental and reverential cosmological vision made of the hardships of reality a way to elevate intellectual life to the status of the divine. The power to speculate, explore and decode reality around us was considered a gift.The time given to pursue such enterprises was considered invaluable.

What we now call history is the constant decaying of civilizations, an ebbing of true understanding, followed by a wave of revolutions, one after the other in relatively rapid succession as a drowning man desperately clutching for air. Scrapping whatever he could, man acquired dominion over the material while all sense of meaning was gradually lost.

“…for the powerful children of natural emotion will be replaced by the miserable creatures of financial expediency.”

The following is a list of four artworks of the greatest refinement, be it formal or otherwise, achieved through experience or birthed by the inner workings of an innate calling. These are the echoes of what once was.The author would like to assert, moreover, that if there ever was an art for the elite, then the one found here is it.

Each will challenge each of the shortcomings of the fickle man. The first will call into question the superficial appreciation of aesthetics and will render the disavowal of prejudices compulsory. The second will require self-internment and the ability to perceive higher truths. The third will furthermore force those with a mind for the complex and an aversion to clear, straight lines to look beyond these and settle down in an openness to the expression.

“it was not a coincidence that in the Roman arenas several numbers and sacred symbols appeared repeatedly: the three, in the ternae summitates metarum [the tops of the three columns] and in the tres arae trinis Diis magnis potentibus valentibus [three altars for the triple gods, the Great, the Potent, the Prevailing] that Tertullian attributed to the great Samothracian Triad;”


On Det Frysende Nordariketdetfrysendenordariket

Disdained by most metalheads and followed with unthinking loyalty by kvlt fanatics, Ildjarn has achieved an infamous reputation in one way or another. Either of these camps considers the project to be non-music, with polarized opinions divided between “far from filling the requirements of music” and “simply beyond music”. The former point of view assumes a position of authority on technique whence it presumes to judge what music is. The latter is the inexcusable blindness of spineless and undiscerning individuals who place image before content.

While one could easily disarm the first argument on philosophical grounds, an unbiased judgement of the performance itself leaves any knowledgeable instrumentalist with no option but to accept that this is certainly not the weakness of the music. If issue were taken directly with the arrangement — the composition — of the music, there could be a worthwhile side to these attacks. More often than not, though, these critics arise from the new funderground camp, who have a notorious obsession with sheer standard behemoth-sounding production values, and so the argument usually runs along the lines of Ildjarn’s music being buried too deep in noise to have any value to speak of.

However, Ildjarn at its peak is far more than the jumbled improvisations the early recordings let through. The extreme punk channeling raw energy that this music consists of took some time to be harnessed. Det Frysende Nordariket (“The Frozen Northern-Kingdom”) shows us a refinement and redirecting of these ideas. While the self-titled was barely more than a collection of scattered ideas, intuitive impulses and visceral cadences, it is in this release that Ildjarn develops these ideas into mature extensions which make efficient use of the strengths of the original riffs, thereby burying the relevance of their shortcomings.

Coming to an aural absorption or a gnosis, so to speak, of Ildjarn’s rougher side necessitates not only the listener’s amiability towards ultra-minimalist and long-winded ambient music, but also a positive familiarity with low-fi punk and metal production and its use of what are normally considered sound artifacts as tones and colors on the palette of the artist. Once this is understood and the raw texture is successfully digested, one can start to appreciate the unique ideas presented in each track. The genius of Ildjarn lies in the masterful ultra-minimalist manipulation of the original ideas that can be likened to a stretching and contracting, which is occasionally accompanied by a seamless expansion that is so shy it is barely noticeable if the listener is not attentive.


On Hvis Lyset Tar Ossburzum hvis

1994 marks the turning point in metal history when innovation stops and a gradual degeneration starts to take place. This year is also the highest point in black metal, seeing the release of what we can consider the quintessential genre masterpieces. First among them is Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss.

The meteoric ascent of Vikernes’ previous works from varied yet focused ideas to the purest synthesis of elements in Hvis Lyset Tar Oss could only have one possible outcome. The groundbreaking impact this had on the genre can only be compared to that of albums like Onward to Golgotha or Legion on death metal. While some argue that Vikernes single-handedly “developed” or “defined” black metal, the truth is that he brought it to an end in this album. It is the kind of album that has the words “This Is It” written all over it. There is nothing for us, mortals, beyond the incognizable infinite.

While there is much dark beauty in other works in the genre, works that may serve as veritable portals to hidden corridors of existence, when it comes to the art of composition, there is no other that brings this black romanticism to a more perfect incarnation. Hvis Lyset Tar Oss addresses all facets of black metal and gives them an equally important place in a masterfully balanced music.

The often-used descriptor “ambient black metal” falls criminally short of what this album has to offer. That this “atmospheric” feeling is the only thing blind men can perceive is empiric evidence of its extant layers penetrable to their last consequence only by esoteric means. The least trained will only hear repetition (variation details are lost on them), while those into ambient music will sense the fog around them. He who decries structures and can, to some extent, understand their relations, will be able to delineate muscle fibers and bones — an objective confirmation of content. Further and higher lie realms to be walked but never shared.

“Imellom buskene vi stirret på de
som minnet om andre tider
og fortalte at håpet var borte
for alltid…

Vi hørte alvesang og vann som
sildret

Det som en gang var er nu borte
alt blodet…
all lengsel og sorg som hersket
og de følelser som kunne røres
er vekk…
for alltid…

Vi døde ikke…
vi har aldri levd”

Navigating the waters of this ocean, we see indomitable and gargantuan waves slowly rise before us, we experience the placid breeze under a dark-grey sky streaked by clouds mutilated by the rays of a moribund sun, and we face the wrathful tempest. Battered and sucked into a timeless maelstrom, all that remains at the very end is the essence, the ultimate undifferentiated mother of creation.


On The Rackasphyx-the-rack

Asphyx’s debut garners “historical” respect, but is often deemed to be the preparative stage before more refined ones. This argument appears to be supported on two pillars. The first is that a later Asphyx was more technically outspoken, and the second, that the band managed to narrow down their style into a more focused expression. Both of these are true, yet they did not result in higher artistic merit as later works became increasingly sterile. The fact that people get “a feeling” from them is besides the point. Yet, when it comes to art and especially to music, some might confuse these visceral reactions with effective communication through the intuitive.

The Rack presents a style that is both minimalist in its building blocks but displays a progressive tendency in the overall arrangement of parts. Here, Asphyx goes beyond style fetishization and instead uses characteristic phrases and riffs as symbols standing for moods and points in a storyline. This vision places it alongside classic albums that work at a higher level than the merely technical or the grossly emotional. However, it is important to keep in mind that all this intellectual dissection is only a way to uncover this work’s secrets and must not be confused with the end.

The color palette with which Asphyx plays has a narrow enough range that its extreme opposites are not as contrasting that they incur in an incoherent string of topic changes, yet the individual strokes that riffs represent are distinctive enough that they form clear statements and unambiguously show the way. The triumph of The Rack lies, furthermore, in that it not only signals these inclinations but actually follows them to their last consequence without derailing.

These progressions may seem too clear-cut, leading to them being perceived as ‘blocky’. But when inspected closely, they are shown to be not so much as separate stones in alignment, but as rock-hewn steps in a massive staircase of which each stage is birthed from the underskin of the last. Other ‘brutal’ albums constitute a string of emotions, but here we find an ancient megalithic maze that dwarves petty human creations.
Switching between thematic solos and motific riffs, grindlike attack and doomlike arrest, this first Asphyx takes us through savage plains and forbidden peaks in a barbarian’s world. Now we hear the rage of souls crushed, the karmic cruelty thence resulting, now the ecstatic state following the release of unrestrained fury as we claw our way through this arid wasteland of unmercy.


They represent mental spaces within which they are as palpable and engulfing as daylight itself. But places must be traveled to, gates must be unlocked and the decision to step through them is a voluntary one.

Seeds being planted,
guarded by the old ones below.
Against the sky they lay roots,
Once to bloom with signs.”

 

David Rosales

Novembre 2015

Revised Octobre 2016

[Originally published on Death Metal Underground.]

Graznar a Estigia The Brinepit of Eternity

The Brinepit of EternityAlza su rostro entre la penumbra Graznar a Estigia exponiendo facciones que delatan la herencia crepuscular de Burzum.  Mas aunque las notamos en rasgos particulares en este u otro ángulo, un momento de contemplación nos revela los marcos sobre las que están puestas.  Los largos trazos se extienden, definiendo los contornos decididamente distintos a sus precursores, si bien no se logra adquirir una personalidad única.  Así como en Hvis Lyset Tar Oss vemos la elaboración de una historia con narrativa clara y tangible desarrollarse a lo largo del álbum y a su manera dentro de cada canción como capítulos en él, y en Thy Call podemos apreciar un paisaje como tapiz de rico bordado que mágicamente  se desdobla al nosotros deslizar la vista sobre él, The Brinepit of Eternity (La Poza de Salmuera de la Eternidad) constituye una runa de poder vibrante que muestra una cara e idea de frente la cual encierra distintas experiencias relacionadas.

Dicho signo esotérico se presenta al oyente cuidadosamente desdoblado de distintas maneras, como si el autor tuviese las distintas llaves que descubren sus capas y develan sus caras.  Las cuatro composiciones de The Brinepit of Eternity están basadas sobre motivos musicales cercanos, reflejando en lo musical el concepto.  Las primeras dos exponen las primeras visiones exeáticas como premoniciones del final de una ronda mortal, y se muestran más cercanas entre sí que a las demás.  Sus músicas, la primera una tormenta que conmociona al cielo entero siendo contemplada a través de apacibles ojos, la segunda una fundición y transformación de la imagen natural en sus aspectos ocultos, encaminan a la mente sobre la senda.

El clímax del álbum llega en su tercera pista, la cual musicalmente expresa el desbordar de la tensión de las anteriores dos.  Su ritmo mece, y su movimiento melódico es sencillo, relajándose sobre acordes de los cuales forma parte como nota soprano, mientras su bajo es pausado y potente, emulando así  su conjunción la voz1 del maestro Vikernes.  Entre pausas en la percusión y apagados alaridos sin palabras, se crean espacios que traen, pasada su mitad, un reencauce ligeramente acelerado hacia un breve promontorio.  Emparejando las observaciones con su proyección literaria, comprendemos esto como el nefasto fluir de los negros torrentes que delimitan la burda existencia.  Es este arrullador y acogedor, sin más destino que la desintegración de almas sin despertar, cuyas individualidades pasajeras caerán en el olvido eterno.

Por último tenemos un epílogo cósmico y espiritual en un exhausto pero decidido arrastrar y empujar que en ciertos momentos, como el primer riff principal, recuerda al Graveland de Fudali en sus mejores momentos.  Tanto la palabra como el sonido se vuelve aquí más difícil de racionalizar, y elusivo de presentir, pues recuenta de espacios inmortales de los cuales ecos distorsionados son las únicas pistas recibidas aquí.  Interpretamos esto, entonces, como la razón de  elaborar la composición de una manera más tradicional, volviendo a lo más inteligible, lo más potente, por ende lo más pleno y rico para la mente humana.  El tronar de percusión parecida a los tímpanos de una orquesta clásica le agrega un carácter decisivo y propio de un final elegante como imponente.

La organización en cuatro pistas de mediano tamaño resulta apropiado, satisfactorio y simbólico.  La textura musical permanece uniforme, así como el estilo de sus expresiones que solamente adoptan esta u otra particularidad como requiere la situación.  Los énfasis y cambios son delicados así como sensibles, sin permitir que ningún aspecto se salga fuera de control, mas sin embargo tampoco amarrando al sentimiento y a la expresión.  La presente obra es mínima por elección, y en su austeridad logra una efectividad increíble, sin desperdicio alguno, elaborando el pequeño material básico hasta su límite en arreglos creativos.  No se esparce como neblina delgada sobre una vasta extensión como lo hace Abyssum, ni produce motivos2 que en matemática permutación desenrollen los simplificados planos de laberintos subterráneos bajo una catedral a manos de Horgkomostropus, mas constituye The Brinepit of Eternity una lección en composición metal con una atención al detalle y su significación que es, hasta el momento, única y sin rival en su realización en Centroamérica.

MMXVI Anno Bastardii


1Voz musical, no la voz literal de una persona.

2Motivo musical, “una breve figura melódica o rítmica, de diseño característico, que ocurre una y otra vez en una composición o sección, como elemento unificador.”

Mayhem De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

mayhem_demysteriisdomsathanasMayhem occupy a very interesting position in the history of black metal that merits discussion and requires clarification on its own.  And the present work, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is only accessory to this discussion, for its quality, though stout and certainly outstanding, is eclipsed by the fame attained by the band members as artificially-inflated personas.  This is a tragedy for the music itself, which deserves recognition on its own, and the source of many misunderstandings born out of the caprice of angsty teenagers and irresponsible young adults unable to deal with reality.  It is not untrue that the immense popularity of something is usually a reliable sign that something is amiss with it, as this is usually the outcome of an oversimplified aspect either portrayed by the artist or perceived an ignorant and eager audience.

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas comes out in 1994 and is anything but innovative. We must admit, however, that innovation is not itself the most important aspect of music –not on the surface at least.  An innovative work must be possessed of an original impulse that propels it forward to a nuanced expression that is only and wholly its own, even though on the outside its general style and the application of techniques does not differ significantly from the norm.  Mayhem display here their only significant album, which we may consider a gateway album for black metal, for its inner simplicity which, compounded with its percussive outside and plentiful short melody-based riffs, account for a jingle-like attraction to its appearance on its own.  The success of this album is utterly based on this pop-like inclination that surprisingly does not betray the black metal spirit but comes out as strengthening it, albeit through a one-dimensional expression based on excitement rather than on depth.

Now, what De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas does, it does really well, and its undeniable triumph lies precisely in this.  This is why despite Mayhem’s general worthlessness, the present album is uplifted by all as a masterpiece of its own kind, an authentic tribute to the spirit of energy and darkness.  The flow of energy of one section, manifested in the arrangement of its rhythm and the direction of its melody and implied harmony, among other, more subtler elements, is usually uninterrupted in its transition to the next, and this provides a cathartic experience where the ecstasy of a delicious moment never ends while the album is still played.  The percussion plays no small role here, being both creative yet perfectly adequate in every simple instance, providing both function and entertaining details that enhance rather than distract from the spirit of the work, as do more modern pseudo black metal incarnations (Mgla comes to mind with its drum self-delusion in an extremely poor, though passingly interesting, and repetitive framework).  It could be stated without a shadow of doubt that the percussion in this album constitutes its most outstanding trait, giving it a life and uniqueness that it would lack if the rest remained the same and the drumming replaced by an average performance.

The constant vituperation of artists and their works superior to Mayhem and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, now demand justice and an answer, and there is where we shall briefly proceed.  There is a common misunderstanding by people ignorant of musical quality in every aspect except their own enjoyment, that tells them that the expert preservation of jingle efficacy herein found is not only on par with, but superior to the progressive ceremonies of Varg Vikernes in Burzum.  The error is twofold and born out of a lack of discernment arising from a missing proper musical training (which includes the development of a real philosophy of art in combination with technique) that is seldom surmounted  by individuals which would rely entirely and solely upon an intuitive sense, one which, by the way, only a tiny fraction can reliably develop.

The first of these mistakes consists in awarding this Mayhem the status of a transcendent work of profound significance, when in realization it is but an deftly arranged collection of metal jingles with a slightly dissonant tendency that gives them an air of superfluous evil.  This legend comes in part from paying too much attention to the ridiculous musings of Euronymous, who had the tendencies of an immature diva.  Testimony and support for this is the fact that for all their talk, this circle of people akin to him were not very good at performing either works of artistic merit or acts of a dangerous nature towards a goal.  De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was the maximum expression of that line of thought, it took years of work, and it came out several grades under most of the classic albums that had come out since its writing begun (see all of Darkthrone’s and Burzum’s discographies from inception, which by 1994 produce works of vastly superior merit).  This is mostly because any ideology, religious or otherwise, Satanic or otherwise, is only as good as the degree to which it addresses reality –which is independent of any perceived truth or interpretation and simply is.  Euronymous’ brand of child nagging, however, was more of a thinly veiled dead-end nihilism that expressed a wish for destruction above anything else, never actually coalescing towards accomplishment on any of the three levels on which we exist.

Anything and everything transmitted by De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas had already been done at a technical level, and attained in deeper explorations, in albums one, two or three years older.  A clear example are 1993’s potent trio in Norway’s Darkthrone, Burzum and Gorgoroth, all of which actualize black metal in unique ways that thin out technique towards pure use in meditative trances.  In De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas we see rather a backtracking that pushes towards mainstream accessibility, despite the incessant empty talk of Mayhem’s leader.  Burzum’s Det Som Engang Var eclipses the present work to a degree that reduces it to mere child’s play, for in Vikernes’ work we find works of internal and subterranean elaboration that set the mind into a state and then develop from that state to various concrete places, so that the perceived technical simplicity of its expression is only Plato’s simplicity, of which he spoke in The Republic through the mouth of Socrates.

I do not choose death and black metal because they suit my fancy, but because, in their highest expression, they touch on the most objective reality and the profoundest mysteries of human experience, respectively.

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas has already been given its due, here and elsewhere, time and again, which is why I have taken the liberty to devout a good portion of this space to performing the work of the devil’s advocate.  Doing so is always in the interest of anything that shall be called true and sincere, in art or otherwise.  What is important is not to vituperate either this or that artist, but to set everything in its place in accordance with what we can agree is reality, and not what we wish it to be.  For were it any other way, I would simply choose to follow a prettier fantasy.

I do not choose death and black metal because they suit my fancy, but because, in their highest expression, they touch on the most objective reality and the profoundest mysteries of human experience, respectively.  Let this commentary be not ground for petty disputes, but the commencement of an inner search, the sighting of a new shore to conquer, for in discovering the actual nature and place of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas we do black metal a service.  Hereby we also do Mayhem themselves honour by assuring their true place for posterity, lest they be swallowed up by the shallow, though enthusiastic, appreciation of lesser minds and the stupidity of the vast majority.  This place is very small indeed, and a footnote in the History of Black Metal rather than musical relevance (it has been highly influential as inspiration, but very little in the way of musical evolution was bequeathed by this album in particular) to the developed side of the genre, but it is one the album deserves at the very least.

Possessed by the Moon

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A legendary time and place for underground metal, the Norway of 1993 is a hidden landmark in time and space for black metal history. It saw the rise of a mythology of its own, the mythology of black metal, and an eventual catastrophic demise worthy of a saga of its own.

Few have been able to witness that the best black metal is art, borrowing and melding ambient and neoclassical music. Many have pondered on the meaning of black metal, failing to understand why black metal, god and Hitler belong in one sentence as a direct consequence and in the same breath as the idea that relates Blake, Goethe and Romanticism with it.

It is the anti-modernist and traditionalist elements in black metal that may further complicate the issue for mundanes. Those who long and desire the black metal flame enough but don’t possess it yet must ask how to get into black metal.

I. Gorgoroth – Pentagram
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Not as refined as the band’s next offering, Antichrist, this album overflows with an uncontrolled longing for the mistress of darkness, for a desire abandon oneself to the forces of the lower world. Statements in Pentagram lack the potency of what followed, but their more innocent obfuscation already contains that germ of sincere evil mongering that fills the hearts of those who will not yield.

II. Burzum – Det Som Engang Var

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Perhaps the most heart-tearing and magical album by Burzum, Det Som Engang Var lies on the boundary between the shaded fiend that is the debut, and the flight and cycle through existence manifested in music that is Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. Composition-wise, this may be the most technical of any music written and published by Vikernes under this monicker, and as such should be studied carefully. It is, however, much more than just an exemplary metal composition, it is sorcery, it is a gateway — a nexion to the acausal.

III. Darkthrone – Under a Funeral Moon

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Here we have Darkthrone in the alchemical process of becoming, their adept efforts going at it again and again. A year later their efforts would materialize in the pure flow of raw and unabstracted forces that Transilvanian Hunger would be. While that next album has proved as inscrutable to the common metalhead in its transcendental use of technique and molding of musical reality, in Under a Funeral Moon we can still see experiments executed on primal energies to reach that inverted nadir.


We are possessed by the moon
We are possessed by evil
We are possessed by Satan
— Gorgoroth ‘Possessed (By Satan)’,