BURZUM — Fallen

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BURZUM - Fallen cover
3.47 | 26 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2011


1. Fra Verdenstreet (1:03)
2. Jeg Faller (7:50)
3. Valen (9:21)
4. Vanvidd (7:05)
5. Enhver Til Sitt (6:16)
6. Budstikken (10:09)
7. Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen (5:57)

Total Time: 47:41


- Varg Vikernes / vocals and all instruments

About this release

Release date: March 7, 2011
Label: Byelobog Productions

Catalogue No: BYE008CD
Cover picture is "Elegy" by Adolphe-William Bouguereau.

Thanks to J-Man for the addition and progshine, adg211288 for the updates


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"Fallen" is the 8th full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal act Burzum. The album was released through Byelobog Productions in March 2011. As always all vocals and instruments are sung/played by Varg Vikernes.

Stylistically the music on the album is atmospheric black metal with aggressive raspy harsh vocals as the dominant vocal style, but the album also features clean sung vocals and whispered/talking type vocals. Varg Vikernes is a very convincing vocalist and the fact that the lyrics are in his native language also provides an extra more personal dimension to the vocal delivery. I guess that´s probably lost on listeners who don´t understand Norwegian, but personally I almost always find the use of native languages in metal irresistibly charming.

"Fallen" features 7 tracks. 5 of those are relatively long atmospheric and repetitive black metal tracks, while one is an intro and one is an ambient/percussive track that closes the album ("Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen"). The latter is a bit tedious, but the rest of the tracks are pretty brilliant to my ears. A track like "Vanvidd" is even outstanding. It took me a while to appreciate the thin sounding production and actually spot the bass in the mix, but it´s a sound that suits the rawness of the music, and it´s not noisy and muddy in an unpleasant way.

The musicianship is generally strong but I think it´s audible that Varg Vikernes is not a natural drummer and if he is, it doesn´t exactly show. The drums are very simple and repetitive in style and if there is a fill hidden somewhere on the album that I didn´t notice you´re welcome to enlighten me because I can´t find one. The simplicity of the drumming is at times almost to the point of being ridiculous, but for the most part Varg Vikernes makes this simple approach work in favour of the dark atmosphere although I personally could have wished for a fill or two now and again. Despite a few issues "Fallen" is a overall a very strong album by Burzum and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
If you look at the lyrics to Burzum's second post-jail album, and listen to Varg's tormented delivery, then you might be fooled into thinking that this account of a person's introspective self-searching might be the result of Varg finally beginning to feel some remorse for his various misdeeds. Of course, if you've read any recent interview with him you'll know that isn't the case at all, but never mind: at least this time, he doesn't bring his odious politics or pitiful self-justification into the album overtly.

Once again, the electronic influences of earlier Burzum albums are more or less albsent; the concluding track is instead some sort of eerie folk piece which I believe might be performed on traditional instruments. On top of that, Varg's vocals include more stentorian intonations and less berserk screaming, as a forerunner to the shift in his vocal style on subsequent albums. It's certainly a bit more original than than Belus, but at the same time Fallen's experiments haven't held up over the course of time to the same extent as, say, the experiments of Filosofem have, and ultimately feel like the first steps down the creative cul-de-sac he has ended up in on his more recent releases.
Since his release from prison in May of 2009, Varg Vikernes has once again become a prolific black metal machine. Fallen, the second Burzum album released in the span of one year, shows the infamous Norwegian legend with a redefined sound and some great black metal to go along with it. This album shows a new side to Varg's genius as a composer - the extensive use of clean vocals and folk metal influences add a new dimension to Burzum that we've never seen before. Although this can't compete with masterpieces like Hvis Lyset Tar Oss (in my opinion), it's another essential chapter in the legend of Burzum. Anyone who wants to call themselves a black metal fan better make sure Fallen finds its way into their collection at some point.

Varg Vikernes is one of my favorite (if not my absolute favorite) black metal musicians, so expect a bit of bias in this review. Burzum was always about exploring previously unexplored territories, and Fallen continues in this fashion. Although this is firmly rooted in Norwegian black metal, expect more folk and progressive rock influences than we've ever heard in a Burzum album. The ambient influences that dominated Varg's releases prior to his incarceration are scarce, but it doesn't affect the quality for me. Fallen opens up with a brief intro before transitioning into my favorite track on the entire album - the masterful "Jeg Faller". Filled with irresistible riffs and excellent clean vocals from Varg Vikernes, this is undoubtedly a highlight on the album. The rest of the album continues in a similar direction (without ever sounding "samey"), before closing with the epic "Budstikken" and the avant-garde "Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen".

Of course, the musicianship on Fallen is excellent. Varg Vikernes is a genius who has mastered many instruments, and that's extremely apparent here. The production is very raw, and took some time for me to get used to, but I now think it suits the music perfectly and sounds excellent.

Burzum has always been a legend in Norwegian black metal and, even 20 years after its formation, Varg is still cranking out top-notch black metal releases. I'd recommend all fans of old school black metal with plenty of variation to definitely take a look into Fallen. Although this can't compete with Burzum's mid-90's masterpieces, it's still a warm recommendation from me. I'll give Fallen an excellent 4 stars. Hail Burzum!

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