Burzum - The Ways of Yore (Byelobog Productions)

Remarkably restrained...
Release Date: 
1 Jun 2014 - 11:30pm

Wow. So much mellowness and restraint. That was my first impression of Burzum's The Ways of Yore, and it clearly further develops the restrained ambience of Sol Austan, Mani Vestan (2013). The Days of Yore goes beyond the simplicity of medieval folk music (though there do appear to be 'traditional' instruments such as some kind of lute that opens the album on first track God from the Machine). But there seems to be more of an emphasis on the sweeping keyboards and well placed and gently picked guitar notes that appear in each tune. Take title track The Ways of Yore; initially it would appear to be a rather simple composition reminiscent of Tangerine Dream at their most relaxed, yet there's so much more to this album than the simple mimicking of past ambient bands; there's a haunting beauty to each of the 13 tunes on here.

There's a bit of spoken word on a couple of the tunes and the medieval chanting/lute-type-thing gets a bit of a work-out on Ek fellr but it all fits with the feel and flow of the album. It's like Wardruna's Yggdrasil met Popul Vuh at the sabbath, bonded over a few jars of 'sacrament' and then produced something quite beautiful. There's a more than a whiff of the holy and ineffable about this album, even with the almost sinister howlings of the keyboard on Hall of the Fallen there's still a quietly upflifting power to it. I ponder Burzum's intent/inspiration behind producing works such as this, as it's so different to that which came before it - not that I'm complaining. The atmospheric keyboards literally seep into your mind, leading one into a deeply meditative state with little to no effort on the part of the listener - though I would advise caution and not allow reverie to replace attentive vigilance, otherwise you'll slip down into the realms of pure intellectual indulgence and miss out on some sweet revelation.

Gorgeously mellow, intricate stuff.