Burzum – The musical pioneer vs. the delusional thinker

Varg Vikernes, aka Burzum. A musical pioneer and groundbreaker for the black metal genre, but also a delusional race theorist. Is it possible to consume his music without consuming his ideologies outside of his music?

Filosofem - Burzum

The groundbreaking album Filosofem. Recorded in 1993, and released in 1996.

As a listener of Burzum, and as a year long reader of his writings at Burzum.org the two sides of Varg Vikernes has become a great source and inspiration to reflection around the concept of «The Art vs. The Artist». To me, his personal darkness and delusion is also playing a part when interpreting and listening to his music — I have a fascination for what and why he has written and composed music with the qualities that it clearly has, considering his crimes, views and ideology.

When I discovered the album Filosofem, the opener Dunkelheit struck me immediately. Dunkelheit is a composition with a sentiment and feel that has gripped me from the first second of its run time – monotonous and hypnotic, and in many aspects so close to what I strive to write myself. This is also why I decided to do an alternative version of the song (watch video below).

The album, Filosofem (Burzums’ description of the album) ⌘ (Entry in Encyclopediae Metallum), opens with this song and the whole aesthetic of this album presented something new in music and to many the album represents the prototype of the Black Metal genre. It’s undoubtedly a demanding task to listen to if you are not accustomed to the extreme metal genres, but if you look past the noise and the knife sharp treble you’ll find a melancholic beauty – which also spurred me to rearrange the song and record it with finger plucked guitars, and also to try to evolve the vocal melody.

Acoustic, alternative version of Dunkelheit.

To most of us, the ideology and crimes of Varg Vikernes (aka. Burzum) are not just remote and alien, but also terrifying and reminiscent of the darkest part of Western History.

If I’m still not clear enough: to be 100% clear, I do not share any of Varg Vikernes’ view on race, evolution and politics — on the contrary. I find his views (as formulated outside/separate from his music) completely abhorrent and the works and logic of a delusional mind. My contribution to the discussion around Burzums’ music is to underline the beauty of his music as a contrast to his delusional views shown outside his music.

My version of Dunkelheit came to shape during my time in Florø in late 2015, early 2016 when I stayed with my father, terminally ill with cancer. The version was recorded using a Zoom Handy Recorder, in one take.

Later released on the album The Course of Things and Our Insignificance (Apple Music, Spotify).