BURZUM — Hvis Lyset Tar Oss (review)

BURZUM — Hvis Lyset Tar Oss album cover Album · 1994 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Whatever your thoughts are on Varg Vikernes' criminal activities, which include the murder of Mayhem guitarist Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth in 1993, if you're into the black metal genre at all it's hard to deny how much of a key act to the genre's development Burzum was. Hvis Lyset Tar Oss (1994) is the third Burzum album, one of a few that were recorded in relatively quick succession between 1992 - 1993 before Varg's crimes landed him in prison.

There are just four tracks on Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. Through them, the album moves through three distinct phases. The opening Det Som en Gang Var is a 14:21 minute piece of atmospheric black metal featuring a combination of raw guitars and ambient synths. The next two shorter tracks Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Inn I Slottet Fra Droemmen are in a more traditional black metal style, while Tomhet closes the album in a pure ambient style. Varg's writing is minimal, simplistic and repetitive, and as far as black metal vocalists go I've never found his voice to be all that, but on Hvis Lyset Tar Oss he seems to create something quite special out of seemingly nothing. It really is all about the atmosphere and not just in the track that is today recognised as an atmospheric black metal piece, making Hvis Lyset Tar Oss an early classic of the genre.

While my personal favourite track is Det Som en Gang Var, it's actually Tomhet, the ambient track, that I find especially notable on the album. While some might argue that the 14:12 minute piece is just a bit too long considering this is a metal album (meaning the actual metal music is over just past the half hour mark and never comes back for the rest of the album), I find that the track is quite effective. Burzum's take on black metal may be atmospheric but it still has a harshness to it and I like the contrast that Tomhet gives the album. I wouldn't want the album to end any other way.

Varg Vikernes' non-musical exploits may have coloured his career with Burzum in the most negative way possible but if you're a black metal fan Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is certainly a must own album. 5 stars.
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