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Was it really necessary? (Burzum "From the Depths of Darkness")


NokturnalBoredom
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The other day I picked up a copy of Burzum's "From the Depths of Darkness" despite owning the four original black metal albums that Varg recorded in the early 90s. In case you weren't aware, "From the Depths of Darkness" is a compilation album of rerecordings of material from the albums Burzum and Det Som Engang Var, along with three new tracks which are mere ambient intros. I picked it up because I had not heard it, and I generally am interested in rerecordings of seminal works once better budget and production facilities are available.

But I have to ask myself: Was this compilation really necessary? The recordings are better and of a higher quality, sure but don't really do much to change the overall feel of the songs. Sure, the production is less "necro" and cleaner, you can hear the various instruments better but a Stormblast 2005 it is not. The new tracks are nothing more than "intros"... ambient tracks that Vikernes probably had left over from sessions for the recent albums Belus and Fallen. He could have simply released them as an EP, maybe a 7" instead of rerecording mostly tracks from Burzum with cleaner production and slapping them on there.

Having been wrong before about rerecordings of seminal black metal albums, I hesitate to call this a "cash grab" by Vikernes, but that's exactly what it feels like. It would have been much more interesting had he varied the material more and included tracks from Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Filosofem (maybe a fresh recording of "Dunkelheit"?) instead of just rerecording the majority of Burzum and two tracks from Det Som Engang Var. Granted the music is an easier listen now as the production is cleaner and feels a lot heavier, less tinny and with much less treble, but not much is very new here. I'd personally be more interested in seeing Emperor rerecord "Wrath of the Tyrant" with cleaner, less "necro" production because let's face it: there's not a lot that can be done to tighten up these songs besides removing a lot of the hissy treble and making the mids and lows more prominent to create a heavier feeling.

My guess is that this two disc release in a beautiful gatefold sleeve, was intended for younger listeners and only the most hardcore of Burzum fans (which admittedly I am) but I don't feel that it was truly necessary in the long run.

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4 hours ago, Balor said:

But were any of the post prison albums really necessary either?

I honestly do not know. I have not listened to Belus or Fallen, so I cannot make a judgment call on either of them. A lot of me wants to say that the post-prison albums were a cash grab and a capitalization on his notoriety for the sake of making money, but then I remember the Thulean Perspective videos where he essentially says that he lives a survivalist lifestyle in rural France with his wife and however many kids he has. I guess he still gets royalties off of the Burzum albums but he can't possibly be selling that many that he is able to support himself off of the royalties alone.

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9 hours ago, NokturnalBoredom said:

I honestly do not know. I have not listened to Belus or Fallen, so I cannot make a judgment call on either of them. A lot of me wants to say that the post-prison albums were a cash grab and a capitalization on his notoriety for the sake of making money, but then I remember the Thulean Perspective videos where he essentially says that he lives a survivalist lifestyle in rural France with his wife and however many kids he has. I guess he still gets royalties off of the Burzum albums but he can't possibly be selling that many that he is able to support himself off of the royalties alone.

Somebody has to keep the lights on on the farm!  Something tells me he makes a lot more money that we might expect from Burzum.

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20 hours ago, Balor said:

Somebody has to keep the lights on on the farm!

He has electricity because he makes really cringey videos where he tries to argue that he's not a White Nationalist and he's got a computer and obviously electricity to power synths for his more recent offerings, but his house looks like a shithole. There are panes of glass missing on the windows, it's actually really depressing to see what his life is like & I was kind of shocked when I first started watching his material. One time he showed a royalty check and it was for like $6000 US, but that many people cannot possibly be buying Burzum albums and merch because Burzum is not really the easiest black metal to listen to (Easier than Darkthrone, but still). I know that I have like five albums and a shirt, but he sells shitloads of different merch-- backpacks, mugs, hats, shirts-- all sorts of stuff emblazoned with the word Burzum and art from the albums. He's also written some kind of dry books about paganism. I had three of them and then ordered another one for my buddy one Christmas because he's a guy who likes Burzum specifically because of the notoriety.

I just don't know how he is able to support himself off of any of that unless he's got a really high-royalty deal for both his merch and his albums. He's got to do something else, or be getting welfare from the French government (which would be abjectly fucking hilarious to me, but I doubt it).

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6 hours ago, NokturnalBoredom said:

He has electricity because he makes really cringey videos where he tries to argue that he's not a White Nationalist and he's got a computer and obviously electricity to power synths for his more recent offerings, but his house looks like a shithole. There are panes of glass missing on the windows, it's actually really depressing to see what his life is like & I was kind of shocked when I first started watching his material. One time he showed a royalty check and it was for like $6000 US, but that many people cannot possibly be buying Burzum albums and merch because Burzum is not really the easiest black metal to listen to (Easier than Darkthrone, but still). I know that I have like five albums and a shirt, but he sells shitloads of different merch-- backpacks, mugs, hats, shirts-- all sorts of stuff emblazoned with the word Burzum and art from the albums. He's also written some kind of dry books about paganism. I had three of them and then ordered another one for my buddy one Christmas because he's a guy who likes Burzum specifically because of the notoriety.

I just don't know how he is able to support himself off of any of that unless he's got a really high-royalty deal for both his merch and his albums. He's got to do something else, or be getting welfare from the French government (which would be abjectly fucking hilarious to me, but I doubt it).

If not Burzum, then welfare was going to be my guess!  haha

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/13/2021 at 12:24 PM, NokturnalBoredom said:

Going back to the topic of From The Depths of Darkness, I like the compilation because it's interesting to hear cleaned up takes on classic Burzum material, but I think it would have been for the better had he just recorded an entirely new album.

Well he did record Belus and Fallen which are excellent. Then there is Umskiptar which I am sure is very good too but I am never in the mood to listen to it. From The Depths of Darkness is not interesting without young Vargs vocals, was probably a blast to re-record those songs though. I've always found Burzum very easy to listen to.

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