Sound: Here it is, folks... Arguably one of the most famous albums of the ambient black metal genre. Hvis is quite different from the attack of the Self-titled album and the more experimental atmosphere of Det Som Engang Var. At this point, after listening to the album several times, the lonely wall of sound the album is extremeley confident and you can easily tell this is what Varg really wanted to do with his albums.
You'll be first greeted with the sound of wintery guitar saturated with fuzz, with a pan-pipe like melody looming in the background...Suddenly, the war drums will erupt and you won't look back for the rest of the 45-minute journey.
The entire record is a black metal masterpiece because it suceeds so much in atmosphere alone. It perfectly envisions yourself in an empty forest in the dead of winter, freezing to death and passing onwards to afterlife. Hvis has a natural, but still classic, lo-fi production: there's plenty of hiss, but it really won't bother you, as it is covered up by the instrumentization.
Varg's instrumental ability was focused completely on trance and melody. The bass and drums would provide the eternal beat, and the efeects, synth and guitar to carry you into oblivion, especially the closings to each of the four epics. "Inn i slottet fra drmmen" is eaisily my favorite, and not from just this Burzum album.
The whole picture this album paints, combined with the tone and feel; it's refreshing compared to many albums of the same genre or accomplice. // 8
Lyrics: While the lyrics to Det Som Engang Var were more focused on, literally, what once was for Varg's ancestors nowadays, Hvis's are more...mystic, sad, lonely, and willing to die and leave the frozen world.
(translated from Norwiegen)
"All the blood, All the longing and pain that Ruled, Are away, Forever, We are not dead-We have never lived"
"So ends the ride
That lasted a lifetime
For the master goes (in the castle of the dream)"
Varg's signature bloody wolf howls, true to his name, are shining here and barking away. Despite the lyrical themes, the singing on this album is not gentle and is all angry shriek. You can hear Varg stuggle, gasp, and choke a little in his vocal efforts; it just makes it all the more realistic and more connected to the listener's experience. // 9
Overall Impression: This is definetly an album that will easily stand the test of time and stand as a monument to all ambient artists. The three "full" tracks; "Det Som Engang Var", "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss", and "Inn i slottet fra drmmen", are black metal masterpieces- they have thier own innovative elements but basically each song sums up how ambient black metal should be done: correctly. Respectively, they emcompass layered trance, full force, and epic buildup, important variables in the genre. Varg did his homework and built off of each of these themes for form those songs. That, is exactly how you build awesome albums.
The closing song, "Tomhet", which translates to "Emptiness", is a prime example of a well crafted synth piece. It comes in two parts; a more spacelike drone- which matches the theme of the rest of the album -for the first eight minutes before it suddenly cuts, and a small melody shyly lulls the listener into a sleep like state. It's like a cherry on top.
Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is a timeless, ultra-classic album. I simply cannot find any serious dents in the album. Perhaps some of the songs drag on for a little to long, but in all honesty, that's the core of the music. Not to offend anyone, but if you dislike this album and are a black metal fan...you're the odd one out. // 10