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Classic Review: Burzum - Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
Hvis Lyset Tar Oss

Label: Misanthropy Records
Year released: 1994
Duration: 44:30
Tracks: 4
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 5+/5

Review online: January 26, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
Hvis Lyset Tar Oss

Rated 4.04/5 (80.72%) (111 Votes)

Whilst looking through the reviews here for some inspiration for another classic album to review, I was surprised to see that only the original Burzum album had been granted a review thus far. Most likely I think that this is a case of not wanting to pointlessly preach to the converted, but as I feel it's an album that's paved the way for so much since its release, I think it more than warrants a review.

This is the album that Varg truly reached his creative peak in my opinion, and simultaneously created a thousand pretenders in the years following its release. Opening with crackling, effervescent guitars backed with euphoric synthesizer work, 'Det Som En Gang Var' fashioned a new level to the word 'cult', and by the time the regimental drum part of the song began, no true black metal fan listening could declare that this wasn't the beginning of something very special indeed. It's around the five minute mark before we're first burdened with the emotive shriek of Varg, one of the few people who could almost instantly freeze blood with his voice alone, but when coupled with some of the most forward thinking, hypnotic black metal ever created as a backing track, it's truly a recipe for devastating rapture. Long gone are the amiably clumsy beginnings, instead replaced with some of the most contemplative and mesmeric black metal every created, with everything clicking perfectly into place in complete harmonious stripped down simplicity.

The title track follows suit nicely, with the massive main riff sucking you in unforgivably for the duration of the track, in fact, every time I listen to this track, it never seems 8 minutes long. It's almost as if I get so enthralled in the music, that my brain just goes into shock as it doesn't know what's happening to it. But that's just me. The third track 'Inn I Slottet Fra Drømmen' is possibly the weakest on the album, but when you bear in mind that this is one of, if not the best black metal albums ever created, it'd still be an incredible track if released on just about any other black metal album released post-1994. It's just that the track sounds like it was created before the other tracks on the album, so doesn't quite fit under the 'hypnotic' umbrella quite as well as the other 3 tracks on offer, offering more awkwardly orthodox riffwork and clattering drums. The final track is purely synthesizer, and was one of the early opportunities Varg had to show his vision edging toward the dreamier electric side of things, which was utilized and expanded upon to great effect on follow up album 'Filosofem' before taking control entirely for the final two albums.

Trying to find the words to express just how I feel about this album is extremely hard, as when I first heard it on one side of a battered C-90 cassette all those years ago, it instantly had a huge place in my heart, and has gained more love from me over the years with every listen. Everyone will have their favorite Burzum album, but this is easily mine, in fact I'd undoubtedly rate it amongst the best metal albums ever recorded. If the 'Det Som En Gang Var' album was the sound of Varg's ascension to the stars, this is what happened when he got there….

Other related information on the site
Review: Anthology (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
Review: Anthology (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Belus (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Burzum/Aske (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Filosofem (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Umskiptar (reviewed by MetalMike)
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