Rating:
8.6
Burzum - Det Som Engang Var
August 1993


01. Den Onde Kysten
02. Key To The Gate
03. En Ring Til Å Herske
04. Lost Wisdom
05. Han Som Reiste
06. Når Himmelen Klarner
07. Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn
08. Svarte Troner


The album starts off like an endless void which builds into harsh Black Metal with a touch of depression and agony which is the reputed trademark of a Burzum album. From start to finish, this album is a roller coaster of emotions and raw music which will take you to a place deep into Middle Earth if you're a Tolkien fan. If not, it really doesn't matter as this album's depressive and aggressive combination will blow your mind towards the outer realms of Saturn. "Det Som Engang Var" (''What Once Was'') is medieval and transcends humanity and all links with the present world you live in.

This album is built in such a way that some tracks are alternately Ambient while the others are alternatively Black Metal. Four of the tracks are Black Metal and the other four are instrumental.

The intro sets you up towards experiencing the depressive nature of this album and just gives puts you into a medieval mood while you glance at the cover and begin to see what this is all about. "Key To The Gate" virtually rips through the melancholy and starts off with a fast, chaotic seizure of mad lycanthropy and elaborate dynamics evocative of old Bathory. Later this morphs into a slow melancholic dirge with wailing, melodic lead guitar. "Lost Wisdom" too is in this vein and cuts through the eerie atmosphere which the instrumentals had set up.

"Han Som Reiste" and "En Ring Til Aa Herske" are rather repetitive, atmospheric and brooding songs. These sound simple to a casual listener but to a more astute ear however, this track has subtle melodies hidden within it and shows you 'what once really was'. It brings back the depressive synergy that Burzum is all about. These tracks are alternatively placed in the structure of the album so that the effect created is both depressive and aggressive in nature. Without these tracks, the whole idea behind this album would be lost. "Naar Himmelen Klarner" is another instrumental but with some great guitar riffs throughout the whole song. The riffs are similar throughout the song but don't get very boring. Among one of the finest instrumentals on the album, it was originally written in '89, for Uruk Hai (earlier name for Burzum).

The last two tracks maintain the dark drone-like medieval atmosphere and even add a slight epic touch to it. It's the continuous dream-like nature throughout which makes this album special. Listening to a single track simply takes away the impact that this album can have on you. The combination of Varg's angry/emotional vocals, atmospheric instrumentals and wicked riffs makes this well worth your time.

If you are a fan of Ambient, Heavy, and crushing Black Metal then this album is definitely for you. I'd even go as far to say that it's essential for Black Metal fans. I think most Black Metal fans would enjoy it very much. It's a beautiful album and highly recommended.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 6


Band profile: Burzum
Album: Det Som Engang Var


 


written by Himann | 07.02.2007


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Katatronik - 07.02.2007 at 21:33  
I totally agree with you man, so great work!
This album is great, every BM album by Burzum is something special...
Richard - 07.02.2007 at 21:38  
Good review. "...Transcends humanity and all links with the present world you live in" - that's a great way to describe Burzum. My favourite songs on this album are Key To The Gate and Lost Wisdom.
Himann - 07.02.2007 at 23:51  
Yep, Key to the Gate and Lost Wisdom are definitely among the best songs by Burzum and I just feel the instrumentals really set up these songs to be really awesome thanks to the structure of the album. Terrific album and my favorite by Burzum..
Basso - 07.02.2007 at 23:57  
Reviewing this album is blasphemy! No review is needed for such an amazing album!

But hey other than that, its a great review and it describes the feelings experianced while listening to this album well.

Great job Himann
Himann - 08.02.2007 at 00:18  
Thanks mate!! I reviewed it cause just listening to it was not enough and had to put it out in words somehow just to get it out of my head lol..
ElizabethBathory - 23.02.2007 at 15:21  
Since I've bought this CD about a week ago, I've been listening to it every day. Repeat button. I find Varg's vocal amazing in each and every song as it is changing from clean, agressive, spiritual and many other varietyes it is hard to describe. And his low tuned guitar goes perfectly with his vocal. Love this album.
Lucas - 25.02.2007 at 00:54  
Nice review. My favorite songs are probably Lost Wisdom and Han Som Reiste. Still I'd say that this is not THE Burzum album, the title of that album is Hvis Lyset Tar Oss..
Empty Spaces - 06.03.2007 at 22:55  
This album is just great! I as soon as I heard it, I realized what hype was about with Burzum. I should be getting two more albums in the mail pretty soon. ( Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Burzum / Aske )
Paganblood - 20.03.2007 at 17:48  

Grrrrrrrrrrrr! I was about to review this album.....

but your review is so nice!
|Angela| - 29.03.2007 at 17:36  
Really good review and very good description. It really describes this album well.

"endless void", "touch of depression and agony", "transcends humanity", "slow melancholic dirge" and "chaotic seizure of mad lycanthropy". Those words really fit Burzum perfectly.
Uirapuru - 23.04.2008 at 07:33  
great review.. really.. you've said everything. I just wouldnt give a lower rate for bad production, since the ''rawness'' makes part of the atmosphere.
My rate is 9,9 just because i prefer the first album xD.
Himann - 10.11.2008 at 15:59  
Written by Uirapuru on 23.04.2008 at 07:33

great review.. really.. you've said everything. I just wouldnt give a lower rate for bad production, since the ''rawness'' makes part of the atmosphere.
My rate is 9,9 just because i prefer the first album xD.

I agree that an album like this thrives on its poor production. Still, difficult to rate the production highly for it despite its genre and style.
Got Mayhem? - 12.06.2009 at 03:57  
I think the production deserves a better rating because Varg acheived the production level that he wanted. He purposely used poor instruments and recording equipment to get this trademark sound so IMO it gets an 8.5 or 9 in the production catagory.
Smurfophagist - 13.06.2009 at 20:11  
This is a very good review, but the production does not deserve a 6, because it contributes to the atmosphere a great deal.
I wouldn't recommend this album to heavy metal fans though...
Himann - 15.06.2009 at 12:11  
How do you rate bad production highly? I know that bad production makes this album what it is but that doesn't make it good production does it?
Mr. Doctor - 15.06.2009 at 22:42  
Written by Himann on 15.06.2009 at 12:11

How do you rate bad production highly? I know that bad production makes this album what it is but that doesn't make it good production does it?


Good production doesn't mean cristal clear. It's when the production gives THAT specific album a great sound. Cristal clear production in this album would be like giving a... I don't know... Dream Theater a BM-like production and that would be a mess, right?
Cuca Beludo - 29.11.2011 at 02:16  
One thing is sure: Awesome cover! It makes me remember of doom 64...

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