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Album Review

Controversy reigns over Belus: the first, brand new recorded work released under the dreaded Burzum masthead by convicted killer Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes, following the conclusion of his 16-year incarceration for the murder of his black metal inner circle rival, Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, on August 10, 1993. And, as if his contemptible involvement in perhaps the darkest chapter in heavy metal history wasn't difficult enough for most conflicted metalheads to look past, it turns out that Belus is a concept album devoted to the ancient, indo-aryan solar deity (also known as Bel, Ba'al, etc.) and was originally to be titled Den Hvite Guden ("The White God"). Needless to say, coming from a self-professed racist, this adds even more unwanted baggage for someone that many observers expected would want to turn over a new leaf, or at the very least, wish to distance himself from his past fallacies, not perpetuate lingering opinions compromising his chances of being taken seriously as an artist. But this is very much the case, so one must simply attempt to separate content from context where Burzum is concerned. That is what follows here, and, if considered purely on artistic merit, Belus is a rather impressive work; one that, unlike the predominantly electronic, darkly ambient efforts Vikernes recorded during his imprisonment (if you can call that "imprisonment"!), it is steeped in classic Norwegian black metal hallmarks. That's right: we're talking throat-lacerating screeches, buzzsaw riffs, grim melodies, and plenty of blastbeats — all of them defiled by intentionally lo-fi production standards that still barely try to mask the sophisticated compositional foundations supporting excellent songs like "Belus Doed," "Sverddans," and "Belus' Tilbakekomst (Konklusjon)." This musical vision is never more successful than on the album's epic centerpiece, "Glemselens Elv," which achieves new heights of terrifying majesty in light of Vikernes' personal infamy. In conclusion, Belus is an album that one desperately wants to hate; indeed, almost needs to hate for one's own peace of mind, but whose musical qualities are impossible to ignore. Come to think of it, isn't this somewhat like how they've always warned you that the devil himself would conceal his identity?

Customer Reviews

A wonderful new incarnation of Burzum

It's hard to believe that Kristian 'Varg' Vikernes has created an album that sounds so ... unsurprising. Not that Belus isn't shocking, it's just that the shock comes from it's ordinariness. The logo may have changed, but musically this is "Burzum" in Old English font: it adheres to the familiar formulae he established in his (truly incredible) pre-prison albums. Many moons ago Varg claimed to have lost interest in making guitar-based music, and yet here in 2010 he's made a unmistakably black metal record, complete with howled vocals. Who would have predicted that? If he'd written an album of acoustic ballads it would have been less of a bombshell.

You might expect that Burzum in 2010 would be a more sedate prospect than in the past ... wrong! Some of these songs (e.g. Kaimadalthas Nedstigning) are frenzied. Not that there isn't subtlety. This is the work of a mature Vikernes and hence a more profound kind of Burzum. If you found Hvis Lysett Tar Oss unnervingly hypnotic, then Belus will send you over the edge: it's a truly great album and will completely alienate the casual listener (not least most fans of that monstrosity of KISS-style lameness known as ... black metal).

In conclusion: The only artistically significant musical endeavour to have emerged from the corpse-painted & bespiked mess of the Norwegian black metal scene is back & showing-up his contemporaries as shallow, soulless douchebags (again).


Simply stunning - True black metal as it was always meant to be - genius


A great return to form,gets better after a few listens!


Formed: Bergen, Norway

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Burzum is the one-man project of Varg Vikernes (born Christian Vikernes, aka Count Grishnackh), perhaps the most notorious figure in Norwegian black metal. Although Burzum had an unpredictably experimental bent -- encompassing black metal, industrial, electronic, and dark ambient music -- Vikernes will forever be associated with his conviction for the 1993 murder of former Mayhem bandmate Euronymous. It wasn't the first time Vikernes had run afoul of the law; he had been a suspect in arsons directed...
Full bio
Belus, Burzum
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: 08 March 2010

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