Burzum – The musical pioneer vs. the delusional thinker

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).

Steps Leading Nowhere — The Story Behind The Song

Steps Leading Nowhere — The Story Behind The Song

My father has always been a brave soul. Never afraid to explore what has been unfamiliar and unknown up till where he has gotten in his life.

This song was written by my ailing father. Sick with cancer my father set out on a song writing journey a few years back, and wrote around fifty songs over the course of two or three years. Being a great outlet and therapy for him, it also gave a new insight for me into my fathers thoughts and mind.

Here is my version paired with my fathers version.

It has been my intention for a good time now to record the entire collection of his songs, and I have tried several times to find the right expression for recording them. This might my strongest card till now, and as my father only closes in on his dreaded enemy I more than ever feel the urge to finish this project.

The words

Some times i wish to cling to everything I’ve known
sometimes i wish to leave like a storm can blow
at times i close all doors and turn my back on you
sometimes my open heart it can be so true

and I’m never sure if theres love in me
or if im just hanging on
never found the answers
if im losing or if I’ve won
and as i move on further
think its easy to know
i always aim to where my heart will go

there are many steps leading nowhere some that lead to you
the going can be so fine and it can be blue
and often i go forward i hesitate and turn around
i would like to be more steadfast and stand my ground

but I’ve seen what is coming
i only know where I’ve gone
never found the answers
if im losing or if I’ve won
and as i move on further
think its easy to know
i always aim to where my heart will go

some times im feeling old
other times im young
some times I’m too scared i can only run
there are moments i’ll go out fighting
feeling so bold
what im given in this life i want to hold

but I’ve seen what is coming i only know where I’ve gone
never found the answers if im losing or if I’ve won
and as i move on further
think its easy to know
i always aim to where my heart will go