Sound — 8
Varg Vikernes is a man that fans of metal either love or hate. Some find his music to be powerful, hypnotic and mesmerizing symphonies of sound, others see it as talentless noise created by a murderer and racist. But opinions aside, one thing is certain: Burzum's Belus is without a doubt, the most highly anticipated black metal release of 2010. It's the first "traditional" Burzum album released since Varg Vikerne's incarceration in 1994 and the first Burzum album released in over 10 years. The biggest debate among fans is what direction the album will take musically. From the straight-forward riffing of "Det Som Engang Var" to the hypnotic drone of "Filosofem" and the symphonic keyboard orchestration of "Daui Baldrs" and "Hliskjlf", Burzum's discography is extremely varied. This album's sound is a combination of the mysterious drone of "Filosofem" and the more straight forward aspect of earlier albums. Melodically, this is Burzum at its most accessible, not that its mainstream by any means. Its dark but but not necessarily "evil" sounding, more mysterious than anything. The production is raw like the older works but not as harsh, And Varg's signature shriek has gotten deeper with age.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics to the album have been released in Norwegian, Russian, German and Italian. Rough translations of the lyrics suggest themes of nature, wilderness and spirituality, but as an English speaker, I am unable to fairly comment on the lyrics. However, on Burzum's website, Varg has explaind in depth, the nature and themes of the lyrics. The album is about the Nordic god Belus also known as Baldur.
Overall Impression — 9
As a Burzum album, Belus ranks up there with the rest of them. As a black metal album its just as good as any I've heard this year. Belus is a raw, melodic, hypnotic and at times epic. Clocking in at 12 minutes long "Glemselens elv" is the highlight of the album. I would recommend this album to all fans of black metal. Its one of the year's best!