Year of release: 2019
Released by: Byelobog Productions
Rating: 7,8 / 10
Well, I guess, in this review, I will not raise the topic of perception of the posthumous BURZUM collection by the general public. It has long been known that the attitude towards BURZUM is a litmus test that distinguishes a sane person from degenerates and simply ignorant people. Instead, I’ll note from the threshold that the compilation is better than you might expect. After all, this, by and large, is just two discs of sweep that Varg was able to scrape up. Perhaps the audience was not expecting such an end to BURZUM, but Vikernes really doesn't give a damn about expectations, as befits a real artist.
It turned out that his archives had a lot of material - 1,5 hours in total. Not all tracks are equally useful here. Many are uncomplicated tunes for a minute and a little, which Varg used as background music on his YouTube channel, closed by ZOG. But at the same time, some of them could be safely stretched for 5 minutes, just looping the main fragments, because they are beautiful. There are reverse examples in the form of full-fledged compositions, which, despite the duration, lead nowhere or break off at a glance. To the shortcomings of the collection I will also attribute its inconsistency. Perhaps Varg tried to observe some kind of chronology, but this is not heard at all. Two adjacent tracks can have a completely different character and sound, so the transition between them is perceived quite sensitively. However, I’m not quite right: on the second disc there are long compositions designed in a similar style. But on the first - a hodgepodge.
One way or another, BURZUM magic works to the last. Varg has always had very easy attitude towards his works, whether it’s new things or his classic in the metal genre, but everything he does makes sense and works in tune with his worldview - even the little things for 65-80 seconds. Be sure: if the track is called "Gathering of Herbs", then it will sound suitable for such an activity. All compositions in the collection can be divided into three categories. The first is late BURZUM, that is, folk ambient with guitar, vocals and shamanistic rhythms (attention to “The Great Sleep” - why not make something longer in this style?). The second is “prison ambient”, that is, referring to the unforgettable duet “Dauði Baldrs” - “Hliðskjálf”; primitive things played on the synthesizer, aka “dungeon synth”. The third is “Tomhet” dark ambient. Of the latter, I especially like “The Lord of Dwarves,” accompanied by an interesting guitar effect. Such compositions best suggest that Varg's talent has not yet been exhausted and that he could work further. But if you don’t feel like it, then you shouldn't rape yourself.
An attentive listener will find that some things replay old familiar motives in a different way, hiding references to the original sources of inspiration. For example, “A Forgotten Realm” contains a melody from “Tomhet”, which, in turn, was partially inspired (like almost all of BURZUM’s work) by tabletop games like - you guessed it right - Forgotten Realms. “Tomhet” is generally disassembled into parts and reworked 4 times only in this collection - apparently, Vikernes has a particularly warm attitude to this composition. By the way, Varg recommends listening to the compilation as a soundtrack to his MYFAROG tabletop game, promoting a pagan worldview. The release cover, for example, is the same as the book with the rules for the game. I have not played tabletop games for a million years and unlikely will return to them, but the periodic mentions of MYFAROG by Varg in his Twitter sound seriously. No faggots or genders here - in our game there are only two SEXES!
“Thulêan Mysteries” was published as a double-disc digipack, double vinyl, and more recently, a two-cassette box. Digipack does not contain anything inside, except for a tiny note and discs (details on a video), and the other options, I think, are no different. It is a pity that Varg did not take the opportunity to share the ideas of the compositions, but perhaps he did not want to turn the BURZUM finale into a propaganda manifesto. In the end, anyone who knows BURZUM and Vikernes’ personality firsthand will understand what he wanted to say.