Burzum (/ˈbɜːrzəm/; Norwegian: [ˈbʉrtsʉm])
A musical project of Norwegian musician and writer Varg Vikernes.
Vikernes began making music in 1988, but it was not until 1991 that he recorded his first demos as Burzum.
The word "burzum" means "darkness" in the Black Speech, a fictional language crafted by Lord of the Rings writer J. R. R. Tolkien. The project became a part of the early Norwegian Black Metal scene and one of the most influential acts in Black Metal.
Vikernes began making music in 1988 with the band Kalashnikov. The following year, the name was changed to Uruk-Hai, after the creatures from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
In 1990 and 1991, Vikernes played guitar for the Death Metal band Old Funeral, which also consisted of members who would later form the band Immortal. He appears on the Old Funeral EP Devoured Carcass.
Vikernes left Old Funeral in 1991 to concentrate on creating his own musical visions. He had a short lived project called Satanel, along Abbath Doom Occulta. He then began a solo project under the name Burzum.
Soon after recording two demo tapes, he became part of the Norwegian Black Metal scene. With his demo tapes, he had attracted attention from Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth of Mayhem, who had just recently formed Deathlike Silence Productions. Aarseth then signed Burzum to the label, and shortly after, Vikernes ―under the pseudonym of Count Grishnackh―, began to record Burzum’s self-titled debut album. According to Vikernes' autobiography on his website, he had intended to record the album in the worst recording quality possible (due to this being a typical trademark of the early Norwegian Black Metal scene), though still make it sound acceptable. Burzum's eponymous debut album was released in 1992, being the second album released on Deathlike Silence Productions. The song "War" from this album had a guest appearance from Euronymous, playing a guitar solo "just for fun", according to Vikernes.
Vikernes has stated that he had never played any live shows with Burzum, though at one point was interested in it, so Samoth of Emperor joined the band as their bassist, though only appearing on the Aske EP. Additionally, Erik Lancelot was hired to be the band's drummer, though did not record on any Burzum material, and along with Samoth did not play a live show. Vikernes had, by then, lost his interest in playing live concerts, and stated that he "didn't even need session musicians anymore". Therefore, Samoth and Lancelot had parted ways with Burzum. Det som engang var was released as Burzum's second album in 1993, recorded in 1992.
15 May 1994 saw the release of Hvis lyset tar oss, a new album of previously recorded material from 1992.
Burzum remained as a solo project until 1994, when Vikernes was arrested for the murder of Euronymous and the burnings of several churches in Norway. During his time in prison, Vikernes released his next album, titled Filosofem, on 1 January 1996. Recorded in March 1993, Filosofem was the last recording Vikernes made before his imprisonment.
Burzum / Aske, a compilation comprising the Burzum album and Aske EP, was released in 1995.
While imprisoned, Vikernes managed to record two other albums in a dark ambient style. They were released as Dauði Baldrs (1997) and Hliðskjálf (1999).
In 1998, all Burzum albums released up to that point were re-released as vinyl picture discs in a special box set called 1992–1997; however the Filosofem album didn't contain "Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte" due to its length. The regular vinyl issue of Filosofem on Misanthropy had tracks 1–4 plus "Decrepitude II" on side 1 and "Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte" on side 2.
Soon after being released, Vikernes started writing new tracks (nine metal tracks and an ambient intro and outro) for an upcoming Burzum album. According to Vikernes' recounts, several record companies were interested in releasing his first album in eleven years. He stated about the new album, "I want to take my time, and make it the way I want it. It will be metal, and the fans can expect genuine Burzum".
The album was going to be originally titled Den hvite guden ("The White God"), but he later decided to change it to Belus, which was released by Byelobog Productions (byelobog is the transliteration of "белобог" in Slavic languages, meaning "white god") on 8 March 2010. It was also announced that a movie would be released in 2010, based on Varg Vikernes' life in the early 1990s. The movie would mainly draw inspiration from the book Lords of Chaos, with the film being of the same name. Vikernes expressed his contempt towards both the movie and the book upon which it is based.
A second new album of original Burzum material, Fallen, was released on 7 March 2011, followed by a compilation album, From the Depths of Darkness, containing re-recordings of tracks from Burzum's self-titled album and Det som engang var, on 28 November 2011. A third new studio album of original material, titled Umskiptar, was released in May 2012.
Sôl austan, Mâni vestan ("East of the Sun, West of the Moon"), Burzum's first electronic album since 1999, was released in May 2013.
On April 27, 2013, a song was posted on the official YouTube channel of Vikernes, titled "Back to the Shadows." In a blog post, Vikernes stated that "Back to the Shadows" will be the last metal track released by Burzum.
The album The Ways of Yore was released on June 2, 2014.
Nothing is currently known about the progress of the next Burzum album.
1) Burzum (March 1992)
2) Det som engang var (August 1993)
3) Hvis lyset tar oss (April 1994)
4) Filosofem (January 1996)
5) Dauði Baldrs (October 1997)
A Dark Ambient album, recorded while in prison.
6) Hliðskjálf (April 1999)
7) Belus (March 2010)
8) Fallen (March 2011)
9) Umskiptar (May 2012)
10) Sôl austan, Mâni vestan (May 2013)
Another Dark Ambient album
11) The Ways of Yore (June 2014)
1) Aske (1993)
- Mythic Dawn (2015)
- Forgotten Realms (2015)
- Thulean Mysteries (2015)
Demos & Promos
- Reh/Demo '91 (1991)
- Burzum Promo (1992)
- Dunkelheit (1996)
- Burzum / Aske (1995)
- 1992–1997 (1998)
- Anthology (2002) (bootleg)
- Draugen – Rarities (2005) (bootleg)
- Anthology (2008)
- From the Depths of Darkness (2011)
- Presumed Guilty (1998) (contributed "Et hvitt lys over skogen")
- Gummo soundtrack (1998) (contributed "Rundtgång Av Den Transcendentale Egenhetens Støtte")
- Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal (2004) (contributed "Ea, Lord of the Depths")
Tributes to Burzum
- Visions: A Tribute to Burzum (2002)
- A Man, a Band, a Symbol (2003)
- Wotan mit uns! (2003)
- The Tribute (2005)
- Burzum Tribute Attakk (2005)
- Triumph und Wille (2006)
- Lost Freedom (2007)
- A Hungarian Tribute to Burzum: Life Has New Meaning (2008)
- Tribute to Burzum: When the Night Falls – Bethlehem Struluckt (2009)
- A Tribute to Varg Vikernes: Born to Be White (2010)
- Forsvunnet Filosofem: A Tribute to Burzum (2012)