Varg Vikernes released the excellent Belus a year ago, and it was a shocking surprise to all fans like me, who had waited eleven years to hear the mastermind of the whole Black Metal scene in action, while copycats pretending to be so "trve" and "kvlt" as himself, infested the scene with depressive metal and other forms of low life music claiming the viking throne.
Make no mistake: Varg has no imitators, all impostors were put down once he released Belus.
So why release another album in such a short span of time? Is it relevant?
Belus had the artistic urgency of a guy who had stayed a good time behind bars, and moreover, with no possibility to record the music in a proper way. It seemed natural, that the first thing was to record something.
So let's write down the main differences of Belus and Fallen:
This time Varg is more centred and got his time to write and perform the music the way he wanted as if Belus hadn't quenched his thirst for art. As I said before it had natural artistic urgency. But in the case of Fallen, the production is better, the songs are better, everything that you liked in Belus is here, but enhanced to perfection.
The sound is intentionally a blend of his previous releases, mainly Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and, of course, Filosofem.
After the infamous intro, the song Jeg Faller sets the pace of the album, with his mid-tempo ambience, hypnotic guitars, and real black metal vocals blended with clean ones. Valen, comes following the same formula, as if trying to tame our eardrums to the cadence of the opus.
Then a surprise: a song called Vanvidd, with riffs alike Jesu Dod (from Filosofem) and a Darkthrone cadence: this riff really made me pose alone in my bedroom in a kvlt way throughout its execution. I know it sounds so Abbath, I just can't help it, hehehehehe.
The song Enhver til Sitt resumes normal service: doomy rifferama, repetitive drums, but with variations in riffs much, much ahead of the garbage that other "depressive" fellows try to emulate nowadays. Repetitive and variations seem an oxymoron. Not in the case of Varg Vikernes... After all Burzum is not a "kill yourself" band, it's a viking act and the only band I can compare with it is Enslaved. The part of the refrain while he keeps repeating the arcane words og igjen og igjen og igjen og igjen.. is sticky. Every spin one gives to this album will be like: where will he say that og igjen thing?
Budstikken is not really surprising, althought it only maintains the excellence of the whole CD. This 10-minute piece of Burzumic music sounds like a good closer, but the work is not finished yet. The outro, (or is that an actual song?) is different from everything I've heard so far. An odd tribal drum beat with an intrument I cannot identify, but seems something slavic or whatnot, the ambience is really strange, trippy, with his voice whispering something in tongues in the background. Then the tribal drum beat is back again to give this spooky finale a sense of: "wait! It's not over yet". A memorable piece of originality.
The bottom line is that Fallen is a crafted version of Belus.
The artwork is second to none, extracted from a 1889 work called Elegy by the french realist painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
You can call Varg's music black metal or not, it's up to you. But he's a veteran, and no kvlt wannabe kid with a bedroom BM project can beat the master at his own game. The art of Vikernes is bigger tahn his life of crime, alleged bigotry and controversal statements that helped the man become so (in)famous to the whole metal scene. This whole discussion is getting old, so please, try to adhere only to his music and you'll get the one of the most perfect opus of 2011. For intolerant metalheads who cannot stand his face a message for you: Haters gonna hate!