The Music of Burzum and the
Writings of Varg Vikernes

Metal Hammer interview

Interview by Tolis Yiovanitis. Appeared in Greek Metal Hammer magazine, autumn 1997. Typed up by Rainer. Thanks go to Misanthropy for sending me an English copy.

Your new album is already out. Would you like to tell us a bit about it and inform us about the connections between the concept story you picked up and the musical outfit you chose to dress it with?

The album is part of a BURZUM-planned trilogy. It was recorded in 1995 in Bergen prison, on a synthesizer with disk-station. The concept is the death of Baldrr, or better, my interpretation of the myth. Every song of the album is a musical interpretation of each part of the myth.

The connection between the concept story and the "musical outfit" – as you put it – is, in one word: "origin". The Balder myth is Germanic, or European if you like, so I chose to dress it with a Germano-European musical outfit.

Talking about the artwork of your records, what led you to select Theodor Kittelsen's works for your previous albums? I mean which certain aspects of Burzum's music and lyrics can be represented best by works such as the "Tirilil Tove" (see 'Filosofem' cover)?

I used art from Kittelsen's BLACK DEATH collection on the "Hvis lyset tar oss" album, as that album is about the SPIRITUAL BLACK DEATH, commonly known as Judeo-Christianity (note that the "Black Death" is the name the Norwegians gave to the plague which swept away almost half the Norse population back in the 1350s).

The "Filosofem" album is in many ways a continuation of the "Hvis lyset tar oss" album, with some Norwegian folk tales added. These narrow-minded and Christianized folk tales from the late middle-ages up 'till the 18th Century are re-interpreted and put in connection with the concept of the album. Theodor Kittelsen's art was created to visualize these folk tales, so they suited perfectly.

Your plans were to release synth-based music under the "HLIDSKJALF" moniker. "Daudi Baldrs" is synth music all right, but it's still BURZUM. Does this mean that the course of HLIDSKJALF shall be totally different?

Hlidskjalf is the second album in the above mentioned Burzum trilogy.

Now to your new album and back to 'artwork selection'. What does the front cover symbolise, who did the paintings accompanying the libretto and what's the 'story' of them?

I will take it systematically. Picture 1 (Daudi Baldrs) shows the Death of Baldrr, i.e. the meaning of life. In other words it shows how and when my people were Christianized.

Picture 2 (Hermodr a Helferd) shows women of our race who search for the meaning of life (Baldrr) in their unconsciousness (Helheimen i.e. "Hel's home"). The title translates as "Hermodr on a journey to Hel" (Helheimen).

Picture 3 (Balferd Baldrs) shows the meaning of our life being buried, as the best of our people are killed in their refusal to accept the Jewish Christianity as their religion. Trust (Litr) and nearness (Nanna) are burned with Baldrr on the fire. The title translates as "Balder's Burning (burial)".

Picture 4 (I Heim Heljar) shows what the above mentioned women found in their unconscious.

Picture 5 (Illa Tidandi) shows the above mentioned women being burnt alive, since they found the meaning of life and thus represent a big threat to the Judeo-Christian tyrants who rule OUR Europa. This generally refers to the inquisition, who burned the best of Europa's men and women as "Satanists" or "witches" and the like. The title translates as "Bad News".

Picture 6 (Moti Ragnarokum) shows our future, i.e. the light (Baldrr); the Sun (Baldrr) descending or ascending in the horizon. It is up to us to decide, if Balder shall descend or ascend. The title translates as "Towards Ragnarok". A woman T.S. (ED: Tanya Stene known to you from various ULVER and DARKTHRONE illustrations) did the paintings.

Do you still enjoy metal music, and guitar-based music in general nowadays or not? If you are given the opportunity to record another metal album (guitars, bass, drums, etc.) what will your choice be?

If I could listen to music, I would listen to old marches, folk music, classical and some electronic music only. I will most likely never record any "metal" records.

Being in prison is for sure a negative thing. But to my eyes you seem to have developed very much in spirit as well as in body these last three years. Am I wrong? Do you think your evolution would be the same if you were still free?

You are both right and wrong. Bodily I was on a peak in my teens when I trained athletics and martial arts actively for five years. However, I moved from home when I was eighteen, got my own "apartment" and could not train anymore because of "pretty" bad economy. I quickly degenerated physically, and at some point I was so thin that old women approached me several times, handing me around 10 kroners and told me to "get yourself something good to eat" when I met them on the street, ha ha!  I could just move back home, but "of course" my pride prevented me from doing that. It was at this stage, by the way, that Harald (Demonaz) of IMMORTAL and myself started to experiment with war/corpse paint. The resemblance to the "undeads" was already there....

This situation improved with the years and the last month I was "free" the economic problems were gone more or less. I don't know how things would have developed from there.

When it comes to spirit and mind, I think the worse the situation you're in, the better it is for the spiritual evolution. Artists are at their most creative when they suffer the most. Torment is the origin of artistic creativity. Humans have the ability, but we never really think unless we're forced to (in one way or the other). It is an unpleasant fact for some, but still a fact. On the other hand, if you first start to think and if you have the courage to continue thinking, I believe you shall never stop thinking "actively". I have been privileged in this way by being given plenty of time to think as well. I doubt the development at this point would have been anything close to this, if I had still been "free". In a way, prison is like a monastery: primitive conditions with a lot of time for contemplation.

When you get out of prison will you continue to defend your morals as an activist or will you concentrate more on the theoretical side of things such as releasing books and the like?

I will continue to educate, agitate and propagate. With what means depends on how the traitor-government of Norway chooses to treat me in the near and distant future.. "Ut Sementem feceris ita metes" (something like "you harvest what you sow") as Cicero puts it.

In early BURZUM days you too used war/corpse paint. I don't suppose your answer here shall be the typical black metaller's answer "That's how I felt". Let's chat a bit about the Asgardsrei. Apart from imagery was there any musical connection between the Oskorei and BURZUM?

The musical connection must be the Rage and the Melancholy. Rage because the Asgardsrei/Oskorei is Wotan's army of  "living dead", or undead. Besides being God of eloquence, magic and wisdom, Wotan is also the God of war and death – the more melancholic aspects of life.

The Asgardsrei/Oskorei is a name for all the warriors who have given their lives to Wotan ritually, but also the spirits of those who died in combat for Wotan over the years (ED: commonly known as Einherjer). The warriors were called undead, because of the initiation ritual where the warrior is hanged in a tree, and then brought back to life. Thus the warrior learns the runes (translated as "secrets") of  "the other side". He is dead, but still alive. Thus the title "undead" or "living dead".

The warriors of Odinn, the Asgardrei/Oskorei, consist of Kings and Earls (Counts), warriors and other noble men, but also of thieves and murderers, criminals and bandits. Odinn is namely the God of all these noblemen and rogues as he knows they're all the same kind of men...

I'll use Hitler and Stalin to exemplify my assertion: First Hitler was a decorated hero of World War One. Then he was a criminal after the failed coup in Munich. Then he was Fuhrer of Germany and finally confounded and damned as a "war criminal". Stalin was a bank robber in Georgia, then he became dictator of the C.C.C.P (SSSR) and today he is, more or less, confounded and damned as a mass-murderer and criminal. The point is that Kings and murderers, criminals and upholders of the law, tend to change positions with each other more than anyone else. Rulers and criminals have much in common... they are all "psychopaths" and thus welcome in Odinn's berserkr army, who wage war for the sake of war.

The warriors of the Oskorei were either berserkr (clad in bear-hides), ulfheidins (clad in wolf-hides) or just dressed in old rags. They painted themselves with war-paint to look even more scary, painted their shields all black or with Totenkopfs (skulls) and they sometimes attacked their enemies during night – storming out of the darkness, looking like corpses, half-dead and half-beast. This is the actual origin of the werewolf myths here in Norway. The Oskorei is also a mystery-cult, with occult rituals under the full-moon. Since also a war-cult, these rituals often ended with a frenzy. This often can, or better could, result in "innocent villagers" being ... affected, and thus create the werewolf myths. As you might know my birthname is Kristian (ironically) and I changed my name (officially) to Varg some five years ago. I did this for obvious reasons, but also because Varg is a Wotanic name. The name Varg means "hanged criminal, killer wolf" and the like. Werewolf in Norwegian is "Varulv" (old "Vargulf") put together by the two words "Varg" and "ulv/ulf"(wolf). Werewolf/Varulv thus translates as "Killer wolf", simply meaning "a wolf that has killed". So they called these warriors Werewolves.

They could of course just call them Werebears, but as one had to kill the animal (while naked) in order to be allowed to wear its hide it is quite obvious why the warriors clad in wolf-hides were far more numerous than the ones clad in bear hides. Also it is obvious that the warriors clad in bear-hides have a far better reputation (berserkr) than the Werewolves.. Okay, killing a wolf can be tough, but killing a bear, all by yourself isn't exactly ... easy. Especially considering the fact they had to be naked and unaided while doing it.

I guess all this explains the use of war/corpse paint of mine sufficiently.

A band in which you have participated in the past, MAYHEM, is reunited and on the same label as you are. How do you look upon this reunion even though their founder is dead?

Well, 'Euronymous' formed the band together with "Necrobutcher", so only one of their founders is dead. Also, until 'Hellhammer' and 'Dead' joined the band in 1989, MAYHEM was a shitty, "fun", Hobby-band. If you read the lyrics on their 'Deathcrush' album you'll know what I mean. Today MAYHEM is different, but I must say it doesn't interest me all that much. I wish them good luck and a successful future though. They are finally rid of  'Euronymous' (Hellhammer's own words) so maybe their future will be more bright than their past?".

BURZUM's music is mostly appreciated by metallers. What other 'groups' of people would you like your music to appeal to?

Whites all over the world".

You are involved in the Norsk Hedensk Front. Tell us a bit about it. What happens when a non-norseman (but still European and a white man) is interested in your interpretations of Teutonic Religion and tradition and your "message" in general?

The N.H.F. is dedicated to throw the Zionist Occupation Government (Z.O.G.) out of Norway, just like the S.H.F. (Svensk Hedensk Front – Swedish Heathen Front) is dedicated to throw the Z.O.G. out of Sweden. However, since Z.O.G. is a problem for all of Europa, and the rest of the white world for that sake, we have decided to cooperate more closely with ALL serious whites, paying little – if any – attention to nationality and ethnic background. Our RACE is our NATION, and although different peoples, all whites belong to the same RACE.

If the elite of all the Pagans of Europa stand together we might even have a chance to win this war. A handful of guys from Norway can do little, a handful from Hellas can do little, but if a handful from ten or twenty European countries join forces it will be a punch in the face of the Jewish "god". With the hammer of Thorr we can break its skull. Smash it into bits. So if any non-norsemen out there are willing to sacrifice everything for our white race, willing to fight, kill and be killed in the fight for our and our children's future and willing to go to war for Odinn – the father of our race – then I wish them welcome.

Okay, we've reached the end. Close it as you like best.

Thanks for the interview. Hail you! Hail Hellas! Hail Zeus!