Burzum
Overview
 
Burzum is a musical project by Varg Vikernes
Varg Vikernes
Varg Vikernes is a Norwegian black metal musician, writer, philosopher, religious and political activist, arsonist and convicted murderer.Vikernes was born near Bergen, Norway. In 1991, he founded the one-man music project Burzum, which quickly became popular within the early Norwegian black metal...

 (originally under the pseudonym "Count Grishnackh"). It began during 1991 in Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and quickly became prominent within the early Norwegian black metal scene. During 1992 and 1993, Burzum recorded four albums; however, in 1994 Vikernes was convicted and imprisoned for the murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 of guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth
Euronymous
Øystein Aarseth , who went by the pseudonym Euronymous, was a Norwegian guitarist and co-founder of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem...

 and the arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 of several churches. While imprisoned, Vikernes recorded two studio albums in the dark ambient
Dark ambient
Dark ambient is a subgenre of ambient music that features foreboding, ominous, or discordant overtones. Although it had its roots in the 1970s, Dark ambient emerged in the 1980s and 1990s with the introduction of newer, smaller, and more affordable Effects units, synthesizer and sampling technology...

 style, using only synthesizers
Synthesizer
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

, as he was not given access to drums, guitar, or bass.
Encyclopedia
Burzum is a musical project by Varg Vikernes
Varg Vikernes
Varg Vikernes is a Norwegian black metal musician, writer, philosopher, religious and political activist, arsonist and convicted murderer.Vikernes was born near Bergen, Norway. In 1991, he founded the one-man music project Burzum, which quickly became popular within the early Norwegian black metal...

 (originally under the pseudonym "Count Grishnackh"). It began during 1991 in Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and quickly became prominent within the early Norwegian black metal scene. During 1992 and 1993, Burzum recorded four albums; however, in 1994 Vikernes was convicted and imprisoned for the murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 of guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth
Euronymous
Øystein Aarseth , who went by the pseudonym Euronymous, was a Norwegian guitarist and co-founder of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem...

 and the arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 of several churches. While imprisoned, Vikernes recorded two studio albums in the dark ambient
Dark ambient
Dark ambient is a subgenre of ambient music that features foreboding, ominous, or discordant overtones. Although it had its roots in the 1970s, Dark ambient emerged in the 1980s and 1990s with the introduction of newer, smaller, and more affordable Effects units, synthesizer and sampling technology...

 style, using only synthesizers
Synthesizer
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

, as he was not given access to drums, guitar, or bass. He has recorded two critically acclaimed albums since being released from prison in 2009. Burzum is one of the most influential acts in black metal
Black metal
Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw recording, and unconventional song structure....

. In Metal: A Headbanger's Journey
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is a 2005 documentary directed by Sam Dunn with Scot McFadyen and Jessica Wise. The film follows 31-year-old Dunn, a Canadian anthropologist, who has been a heavy metal fan since the age of 12...

, director Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is a Canadian anthropologist and film-maker whose work focuses on the culture of heavy metal. Together with Scot McFadyen, Dunn owns Toronto-based production company Banger Films, Inc.-Metal: A Headbanger's Journey:...

 described Vikernes as "the most notorious black metal musician of all time".

Early years (1991–1993)

From 1989, Vikernes had been playing in the short lived band Old Funeral
Old Funeral
Old Funeral was a black/death metal band from Bergen, Norway.Old Funeral was one of the first bands to form in the Norwegian extreme metal scene, getting its start in 1988...

 which also consisted of members who would later form the band Immortal
Immortal (band)
Immortal is a black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1990 by current frontman/guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta and former guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta...

. He played guitar in the band until 1991 when he left to form his one man band, Burzum. Soon after recording two demo tapes, he became one of the driving forces behind the Norwegian black metal scene. With his demo tapes, he had attracted attention from Øystein Aarseth of Mayhem, who had just recently formed Deathlike Silence Productions
Deathlike Silence Productions
Deathlike Silence Productions was an Oslo, Norway based independent record label founded in the late 1980s that focused primarily on black metal. It was the first independent label to do so. The label was founded by Øystein Aarseth, also known as Euronymous, who operated the label until his murder...

. Aarseth then signed Burzum to the label, and shortly after, Burzum began to record for his self-titled debut album
Burzum (album)
Burzum is the self-titled debut album by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in January 1992 and released in March of that year. The album was later re-released as Burzum / Aske to include the songs from the Aske EP...

. According to Vikernes' autobiography on his website, he had intended to record the album in the worst recording quality possible (due to this being a typical trademark of the early Norwegian black metal scene), though still make it sound acceptable. Burzum's eponymous debut album was released in 1992, being the second album released on Deathlike Silence Productions. The song "War" from this album had a guest appearance from Euronymous
Euronymous
Øystein Aarseth , who went by the pseudonym Euronymous, was a Norwegian guitarist and co-founder of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem...

 of Mayhem
Mayhem (band)
Mayhem is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo, Norway and regarded as one of the pioneers of the influential Norwegian black metal scene...

, playing a guitar solo "just for fun", according to Vikernes.
Vikernes has stated that he had never played any live shows with Burzum, though at one point was interested in it so Samoth
Samoth
Samoth is a prominent musician and multi-instrumentalist in the Norwegian black metal scene. He was well known for his distinct guitar work and drumming in the band Emperor, as well as his formation of the death metal band Zyklon...

 of Emperor joined the band as their bassist though only appeared on the Aske
Aske (album)
Aske is the second release by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in April and August 1992, and released in March 1993. Bass guitar on the EP is performed by Samoth of the band Emperor....

EP. Additionally, Erik Lancelot was hired to be the band's drummer, though did not record on any Burzum material, and along with Samoth did not play a live show. Vikernes had by then lost his interest in playing live concerts, and stated that he "didn't even need session musicians anymore". Therefore, Samoth and Lancelot had parted ways with Burzum. Det som engang var
Det som engang var
-Credits:*Count Grishnackh – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, synthesizer-External links:*...

was released as Burzum's second album in 1993, recorded in 1992.

Imprisonment (1994–2009)

May 15, 1994, saw the release of Hvis lyset tar oss
Hvis lyset tar oss
Hvis lyset tar oss is the fourth release by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in September 1992, but not released until May 1994...

, a new album of previously recorded material from 1992. Burzum stayed as a solo project until 1994, when Vikernes was arrested for the murder of Euronymous and the burnings of several churches in Norway. During his time in prison, on January 1, 1996, his next album got released, titled Filosofem
Filosofem
Filosofem is the fifth release by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in March 1993 and was the last recording before Varg Vikernes' imprisonment. However, the album was not released until January 1996....

it was recorded in March 1993 and was the last recording before Varg Vikernes' imprisonment. Vikernes, while imprisoned, managed to record two other albums in a dark ambient
Dark ambient
Dark ambient is a subgenre of ambient music that features foreboding, ominous, or discordant overtones. Although it had its roots in the 1970s, Dark ambient emerged in the 1980s and 1990s with the introduction of newer, smaller, and more affordable Effects units, synthesizer and sampling technology...

 style. They were released as Dauði Baldrs
Dauði Baldrs
Dauði Baldrs or Dauthi Baldrs is an album by the Norwegian artist Burzum. Unlike Burzum's previous work, which was black metal, this is a dark ambient album...

(1997) and Hliðskjálf (1999).

Post-Imprisonment, Belus, Fallen & From The Depths Of Darkness (2009–present)

Soon after being released Vikernes started writing new tracks, nine metal tracks and an ambient intro and outro, for an upcoming Burzum album. According to Vikernes mentions, several record companies were interested in releasing his first album in eleven years. He stated about the new album, "I want to take my time, and make it the way I want it. It will be metal, and the fans can expect genuine Burzum."

The album was going to be originally titled "Den hvite guden" (The White God), but he later decided to change it to Belus
Belus (album)
- Charts :...

, which was released by "Byelobog productions" ("byelobog" resembles "whitegod" in Slavic languages) on the 8th of March 2010. It has also been announced that a movie will be released in 2010, based on Varg Vikernes' life in the early 1990s. The movie is mainly drawing inspiration from the book Lords of Chaos, with the film being of the same name. Vikernes expressed his deep contempt towards both the movie and the book upon which it is based.

The newest album of original Burzum material, Fallen
Fallen (Burzum album)
Fallen is the eighth studio album by the Norwegian black metal musician Burzum released on March 7th, 2011.The cover art is taken from the painting Elegy by French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.- Recording :...

 was released on March 7, 2011. On November 28th 2011, From the Depths of Darkness
From the Depths of Darkness
From the Depths of Darkness is an album by Burzum. Most of the album is re-recorded songs from Burzum's first two albums: Burzum and Det som engang var . It was released the 28th of November 2011.-Track listing:...

, a complitation of re-recordings from Burzum's self titled album and Det Som Engang Var was released.

Musical style

Burzum's music features characteristics common in black metal, including distorted, tremolo-picked guitar riffs, harsh vocals, and the use of double bass techniques in the drumming. Earlier Burzum albums feature low production quality, which has improved in albums created after Varg's release from the prison. The band's early music shows heavy Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

 influence; for example, the name "Count Grishnackh" is taken from an orc character called Grishnákh in Tolkien's works. The choice of the name for the project reflects both this influence and the desire for anonymity: "Burzum" is a word of the Black Speech
Black Speech
The Black Speech is a fictional language created by J. R. R. Tolkien.One of the languages of Arda in Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, it was spoken in the realm of Mordor...

 of Mordor
Mordor
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, Mordor or Morhdorh was the dwelling place of Sauron, in the southeast of northwestern Middle-earth to the East of Anduin, the great river. Orodruin, a volcano in Mordor, was the destination of the Fellowship of the Ring in the quest to...

 meaning "darkness" (though Vikernes views what Christians consider "darkness" as "light"), and is one of those found on the Ring-inscription of the One Ring
One Ring
The One Ring is a fictional artifact that appears as the central plot element in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth fantasy novels. It is described in an earlier story, The Hobbit , as a magic ring of invisibility. The sequel The Lord of the Rings describes its powers as being more encompassing than...

 (the final part of the Ring inscription being "…agh burzum-ishi krimpatul", or "…and in the darkness bind them"). Some of Burzum's early songs featured titles like "En ring til å herske" ("One Ring to Rule").

Musically, Burzum has progressed from primitive, raw black metal
Black metal
Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw recording, and unconventional song structure....

 to classical-influenced ambient music
Ambient music
Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.- History :...

 characterised by minimalist tendencies and dark atmospheres. Vikernes' music is characterised by hypnotic repetition and simple yet profound song structures; this trademark sound has been present on Burzum's black metal and electronic albums alike. Vikernes has described Burzum as a kind of "spell" or recreation of an imaginary world tied in with Pagan history. Each album, he claims, was designed as a kind of "spell" in itself, with each beginning song intending to make the listener more susceptible to "magick", the following songs to inspire a "trance-like state of mind", and the last song to carry the listener into a "world of fantasy" (dreams, for the listener would fall asleep—Burzum was supposed to have been evening music). Vikernes claims the intent to create this fantasy world came from dissatisfaction with the real world. He has stated the "message" of Burzum can be found in the lyrics of the first song of the first album ("Feeble Screams from Forests Unknown").

Main releases

Title Recorded Released Notes
Burzum
Burzum (album)
Burzum is the self-titled debut album by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in January 1992 and released in March of that year. The album was later re-released as Burzum / Aske to include the songs from the Aske EP...

January 1992 March 1992
Aske
Aske (album)
Aske is the second release by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in April and August 1992, and released in March 1993. Bass guitar on the EP is performed by Samoth of the band Emperor....

August 1992 March 1993
Det som engang var
Det som engang var
-Credits:*Count Grishnackh – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, synthesizer-External links:*...

April 1992 August 1993
Hvis lyset tar oss
Hvis lyset tar oss
Hvis lyset tar oss is the fourth release by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in September 1992, but not released until May 1994...

September 1992 May 1994
Filosofem
Filosofem
Filosofem is the fifth release by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in March 1993 and was the last recording before Varg Vikernes' imprisonment. However, the album was not released until January 1996....

March 1993 January 1996
Dauði Baldrs
Dauði Baldrs
Dauði Baldrs or Dauthi Baldrs is an album by the Norwegian artist Burzum. Unlike Burzum's previous work, which was black metal, this is a dark ambient album...

1994–1995 (in prison) October 1997 dark ambient album
Hliðskjálf 1998 (in prison) April 1999 dark ambient album
Belus
Belus (album)
- Charts :...

2009–2010 March 2010
Fallen
Fallen (Burzum album)
Fallen is the eighth studio album by the Norwegian black metal musician Burzum released on March 7th, 2011.The cover art is taken from the painting Elegy by French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.- Recording :...

2010 March 2011
From the Depths of Darkness
From the Depths of Darkness
From the Depths of Darkness is an album by Burzum. Most of the album is re-recorded songs from Burzum's first two albums: Burzum and Det som engang var . It was released the 28th of November 2011.-Track listing:...

2010 November 2011 re-recorded songs from Burzum and Det som engang var

Compilation albums

  • Burzum / Aske
    Burzum / Aske
    Burzum/Aske is a compilation by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It contains Burzum's first two releases: the album Burzum and the mini-album Aske...

    (1995)
  • 1992-1997
    1992-1997
    1992–1997 is a box-set consisting of the previous six Burzum releases, each as a specially designed Picture disc released by Hammerheart Records under the license of Misanthropy Records, featuring new artwork by Stephen O'Malley. Also contains a poster...

    (1998)
  • Anthology (2002)
  • Draugen - Rarities
    Draugen (Burzum album)
    Draugen: Rarities is a 2005 re-release of a bootleg of rarities by the Norwegian black metal act Burzum. It also includes remastered versions of the officially released tracks "Lost Wisdom" and "My Journey to the Stars"....

    (2005)
  • Anthology (2008)

Other appearances

  • Presumed Guilty (1998) (contributed "Et hvitt lys over skogen")
  • Gummo soundtrack
    Gummo (soundtrack)
    Gummo is the soundtrack album to the film of the same name and contains songs that were recorded specifically for the film or were featured in the film. The album is mostly made up of various forms of heavy metal and hardcore punk music, ranging from black metal, to death metal, to power violence,...

    (1998) (contributed "Rundtgåing Av Den Transcendentale Egenhetens Støtte")
  • Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal
    Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal
    Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal is a compilation album by Fenriz featuring bands that have been highly influential for, and pioneers of the black metal genre; Nattefrost and Aura Noir being the only newer bands...

    (2004) (contributed "Ea, Lord of the Depths")

Tributes to Burzum

  • Visions: A Tribute to Burzum (2002)
  • A Man, A Band, A Symbol (2003)
  • Wotan Mit Uns!
    Wotan Mit Uns!
    Wotan mit uns! is a compilation album, released by Ancient Beliefs Productions, featuring covers of songs by the black metal band Burzum. Re-mastered at AB studio and re-released in 2009 with color covers and transparent jewel case.-Track listing:...

    (2003)
  • The Tribute
    The Tribute
    The Tribute is a compilation album, released by Ash Nazg and Perverted Taste Productions, features covers of songs by the black metal band Burzum.-Track listing:All songs originally by Burzum# Veil - Ea, Lord of the Depths...

    (2005)
  • Burzum Tribute Attakk
    Burzum Tribute Attakk
    The Tribute is a compilation album, released by Ash Nazg and Perverted Taste Productions, features covers of songs by the black metal band Burzum.-Track listing:All songs originally by Burzum# Mannaz - Stemmen Fra Tårnet# Hordagaard - Jesus' Tod...

    (2005)
  • Triumph und Wille (2006)
  • Lost Freedom (2007)
  • A Hungarian Tribute to Burzum: Life Has New Meaning (2008)
  • Tribute to Burzum: When the Night Falls - Bethlehem Struluckt (2009)
  • A Tribute To Varg Vikernes: Born To Be White (2010)

Members

Current members
  • Varg Vikernes
    Varg Vikernes
    Varg Vikernes is a Norwegian black metal musician, writer, philosopher, religious and political activist, arsonist and convicted murderer.Vikernes was born near Bergen, Norway. In 1991, he founded the one-man music project Burzum, which quickly became popular within the early Norwegian black metal...

     – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar
    Electric guitar
    An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

    , bass guitar
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    , drums
    Drum kit
    A drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals and often other percussion instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single person ....

    , keyboards
    Electronic keyboard
    An electronic keyboard is an electronic or digital keyboard instrument.The major components of a typical modern electronic keyboard are:...

    , synthesizers (1991–present)


Guests
  • Samoth
    Samoth
    Samoth is a prominent musician and multi-instrumentalist in the Norwegian black metal scene. He was well known for his distinct guitar work and drumming in the band Emperor, as well as his formation of the death metal band Zyklon...

     (Tomas Haugen) – bass guitar on Aske
    Aske (album)
    Aske is the second release by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in April and August 1992, and released in March 1993. Bass guitar on the EP is performed by Samoth of the band Emperor....

    (1992)
  • Euronymous
    Euronymous
    Øystein Aarseth , who went by the pseudonym Euronymous, was a Norwegian guitarist and co-founder of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem...

     (Øystein Aarseth) – guitar solo on "War" and gong on "Dungeons of Darkness" (both from Burzum
    Burzum (album)
    Burzum is the self-titled debut album by the Norwegian black metal artist Burzum. It was recorded in January 1992 and released in March of that year. The album was later re-released as Burzum / Aske to include the songs from the Aske EP...

    ) Varg later killed him.

External links

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