Sunday, December 03, 2006

Vikings Were Born To Fight And To Kill For Pleasure

Burzum – Hliðskjálf

When I wrote about Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas a few weeks back I made reference to their insane bass player Varg Vikernes, a.k.a Count Grishnackh. As well as being a murderer he also likes to burn down churches (at one point making himself responsible for the death of a fireman) and although he doesn't like being described as a Nazi, he is a white supremacist. Despite such unpleasant attributes he's widely respected in black metal circles, mostly on the strength of his solo project Burzum.

Burzum is often described as 'ambient black metal', which would seem to me to be an oxymoron, but I will refrain from judging until I've heard more of this stuff. Hliðskjálf is completely ambient, without a trace of metal (apparently this is because he's not allowed guitars or drums in prison). This album has more in common with the mellower kinds of industrial than anything metal. In fact it reminded me rather a lot of Coil in their more restrained moments.

The music is very gentle and delicate, most songs are just one or two vaguely medieval sounding synthesised instruments playing over a subdued ambient background. It's quite a nice album, although it has nothing on Coil's Musick to Play in the Dark or Jordan Reyne's The Loneliest of Creatures. I would hazard a guess that it's inflated reputation mostly comes from closeted metal fiends who've never heard it's like before. But it's still worthwhile, even just to make you wonder how such pretty music can be made by such a horrible person.

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