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on 16 September 2003
The second full–length album from Varg Vikernes did not do a great deal to build on the sound of his self–titled debut, or the EP Aske, but nonetheless is a very atmospheric album. Lyrically, it is highly influenced by Tolkien with song titles such as En Ring Til Aa Herske (One Ring to Rule Them All) and Key to the Gate. The album consists of eight tracks, but when the intro and outro, synth piece Han Som Reiste and Naar Himmelen Klarner, an instrumental from his Uruk–Hai days are taken into account, there are only four actual songs left.
Vocally, Varg puts in a stunning performance, his tortured screeches on Lost Wisdom are full of emotion, whilst on En Ring Til Aa Herske he experiments with clean vocals, although these are confined to backing vocals. All the songs feature crushing riffs, but the atmosphere is never compromised. Key to the Gate features an amazing solo. Whilst not technically brilliant, it is the most atmospheric solo I have ever heard. Although the lack of blastbeats is quite surprising for an album like this, he puts in a solid performance in that department, too.
Which finally brings us to the synth track, Han Som Reiste, which can only be described as dire. It sounds like the sort of thing your younger brother or sister would knock up in a couple of minutes on their new Casio keyboard. Unfortunately, this was the direction Vikernes was going to take when he was later imprisoned for the murder of his former friend, Euronymous of Mayhem. But despite this obvious low–point, this is a great black metal album and deserves a place in everyone's collection
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on 5 June 2003
As soon as you see this album, you know you're in for a treat.
Simply just looking at the detailed, pained and thought-provoking album cover begins to give you an idea of what the CD is going to be like. The first track "Den onde kysten", sets a moody, emotional scene, before "Key to the Gate", with brilliant double-kicking, beautifully constructed guitar parts and the tortured screams, full of emotion and perfectly suiting the lyrics. Every song just compliments the next, and it is mesmorising listening.
Unlike a lot of black metal, Burzum doesn't follow formulaic black metal song patterns: this is pure, heart-felt, original black metal. If you like music like Darkthrone, Mayhem, Absurd or Craft, Burzum is definitely worth checking out.
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on 26 June 2016
An unrelenting slab of grim, horrific black metal.The only weak point being 'Han Son Reiste', a thin, keyboard-only track which detracts from the overall miserable feel of the album. Rapid delivery from Amazon
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on 5 August 2004
The second full length Burzum album progresses nicely where the Aske EP leaves off, staying similar in sound - very dark, with a rough, distorted sound grating uneasily with Vikernes' screeching, terrifying vocals.There are some very dark, eerie instrumentals here, which sound more like a tormented soul in some metallic underworld sewer than structured music.
There are a few moments of melody on display here, such as in 'Naar Himellen Klaarner', but what you mostly find here is the blackest of black metal, with a cacophony of moans, demonic guitars, and the odd blast beat.
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on 18 January 2005
The debut album was Burzum's most 'Black Metal' sound. This album signalled the project's movement away from Black Metal. There are clear influences of Black Metal in there, however, the music is more apt to drone in a different way (examples, En ring til aa herske). The music turns more towards ambience (though not as much as Hvis Lyset Tar Oss), the music is more percussion driven than the previous album and most Black Metal in general.
The album is divided by a keyboard piece, further proof that Burzum was never wholly 'Black Metal' as such. Some songs seem to take on a duality of sounds, Lost Wisdom being the best example as a 'rock' lead kicks off the song, but is shadowed and swaps roles with a darker sound.
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on 23 January 2010
I believe Varg once described 'Det Som Engang Var' as the "heaviest and wierdest" Burzum album. The sound is overtly 'rock' on some tracks, a direction he later moved away from. The vocals, too, are somewhat different to the other albums, at least on the first couple of songs.

'Den Onde Kysten' is a tribute to all who drowned in viking. It is sad and cold, evoking spirits who would like to be able to warm themselves by the fire, but who never again can. Every so often we should take time to remember the dead...especially our direct ancestors.

'Key to the Gate' has a simple and beautiful guitar lead, and the song could be interpreted as an expression of alienation from the baseness and vulgarity of the modern world. It is only a step from there to the aristocratic world view, and Burzum's continued popularity gives me hope for the future in that regard.

'En Ring til aa Herske' is equally powerful, and demonstrates Varg's talent for creative use of melody, something many overlook due to his reputation as a 'monotonous' composer.

'Lost Wisdom' is also very catchy, maybe even too catchy! Its lyrics treat of worlds and realities beyond this one, which are denied by the "blind church" (and also in our own time by the "blind watchmaker" school of materialists).

The last proper piece, 'Snu Mikrocosmos Tegn' looks forward to the next (and greatest) album 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' in its trancelike intensity.

While not Burzum's best album, 'Det Som Engang Var' is interesting and stimulating, and deserves its place in Norwegian musical history.
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on 17 May 2012
With tracks like Key To the Gate and Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn this album is by far the closest Varg has come to putting out something the mindless crowds of metalheads can bang their heads to. But it doesn`t quite make it to that thanks to the track which I think is the best of the album, Nar Himmelen Klarner. A truely magical track that perfectly embodies the images and emotions Burzum was created to bring out. All in all a solid album.
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on 2 August 2006
Great album, Great songs (alot of classics are on this album). Great Digipack, looks nice and sounds nice. If you like any song from the album Buy this as most are of the same style. Standout tracks are- Lost Wisdom and Key to the Gate. (AMAZING SONGS). If you want some ambient albums go for the last two albums, but this is raw. So takes time to get into!

Just simply a great album... Though if your put of by the guys views it doesnt matter, his lyrics are not racist in any way or form!
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on 29 March 2013
Very quality item. I'm happy that I bought it and if you like black metal than this album is for you. Varg Vikernes sure knows how to make music.
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on 1 April 2016
My favourite Burzum album. The vinyl version made the album 10 times more powerful than mp3. a really good buy.
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