The Music of Burzum and the
Writings of Varg Vikernes


Burzum ended black metal. After the momentous Hvis lyset tar oss, the genre dissipated from lack of direction. This happened for two reasons: (a) the musical requirements of the genre had been kicked up a notch, if a rather large one, and (b) the political direction had gone from teenage rebellion – misanthropy, Satanism, anarchism, Communism and other embittered emotional reactions to our modern world – and had instead gone toward the style of government that existed prior to the last 300 years. This style of government, called radical Traditionalism in our current time, violates every sacred cow taboo we have from equality of people, the necessity of ethnic diversity, the wisdom of cities, and the power of democracy.

For this reason, many of us struggled with Burzum and the person of Varg Vikernes behind it. We lost a clubhouse of angry teenage music that anyone with a guitar and a gripe could bash out, and instead found our genre wavering on the verge of becoming a classical-like technical genre. No longer could we ascribe importance to beer, pot and giving authority figures the finger. When black metal upgraded itself musically, it also upgraded itself socially, and that split the genre. On one side were the old schoolers who liked brainy music, and on the other, the people who wanted black metal to both "progress" (be more like indie, punk and prog) and also, to keep it in the bad old days of being simplistic rebellious noise.

Even further, the philosophical changes shook us. If our modern world is in crisis, and we fully recognize it, we're losers and cowards if we don't act. We can't hide behind making musical and political choices like buying products on a shelf anymore, assuming that what we choose defines our identity and isn't to be acted upon with the hope of achieving a goal in distant reality. Even more, if what Burzum introduced was true, so much of what we have known and grown up with has been insane lies. We esteem ourselves highly in this modern time for external traits, including acceptance of others and pity toward those who suffer, and as a result, defense of their inalienable and uncompromisable rights. If that's wrong, what is right? And can we get over our fear of it, which is our fear of being insufficient in it and not pitied, thus not guaranteed survival like the job/credit card/fast food modern lifestyle?

Burzum alongside Immortal, Emperor, Mayhem and Enslaved, defined for us what black metal was in its mature sense – a contemplative, epic, melodic genre that sought to escape the dumbed-down mainstream rock mentality. It was a breath of fresh air in a world where every artistic movement ends up converging on the mean of "what most people like" and becomes little more than advertising jingles with a new flavor. As the genre matured, Burzum helped lead it to new heights and in doing so, left the comfortable ghetto of teen rebellion, and demanded that it face real-world issues with an unflinching maturity that values truth over convenience. This section exists to help explain those issues and Varg Vikernes' take on them.