Rating:
8.4
Burzum - Filosofem
1996


01. Dunkelheit
02. Jesus' Tod
03. Erblicket Die Töchter Des Firmaments
04. Gebrechlichkeit I
05. Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Säule Der Singularität
06. Gebrechlichkeit II


A pair of empty eyes, on a face absent of any trace of...life?

This is the image that comes to my mind as the first chord of Dunkelheit is picked, and persists, with different variations, throughout this jewel. An incomplete, and yet, mature and developed album, Filosofem must be the Count's deepest creation.

Most of its charm comes from the way it has been recorded. Black Metal has always been about atmosphere, and honestly, one can almost see the darkness while listening to Filosofem.

The first track, Dunkelheit, presents layer upon layer of crippling, tar thick distorsion, with a keyboard popping up every now and then, almost like a spectre through the night. Varg's vocals are colder than ever, repeating on and on his state of mind and the flow of his thoughts, as the night falls.

Jesu Dod. And that's it. The drums on this track might very well be a drum machine, but no matter, the rhythm they supply is a grinding killer of neck muscles. The guitar work is a lot faster, standard black metal tremolo picking but with a certain "colour" that only Filosofem seems to have. It somehow reminds me of Lovecraft's "colour out of space". The vocals are pure hate, making blood run cold. A very long track, with little variation, that doesn't grow boring at all, in fact, it grips you tighter and tighter, draining all the light from your mind.

From this point on, the album takes a lot more of a sinister side. Beholding The Daughter Of The Firmaments is a song that once again slows down, presenting some of Varg's most inspired lyrical content. Decrepitude goes down even more, coming close to a dark ambient track. It's chilling, the eerie keyboard, the grinding slow guitar, the horrified, degenerated screams. This is what Black Metal was always supposed to be. No more, no less.

The last parts are kind of odd, a 25 minute ambient track with little change throughout, I've never quite understood its purpose. I believe it's there to fill up the space honestly and Decrepitude II is just the instrumental part of Decrepitude I.

A conclusion? A horrifying album, as dark and sinister as it could ever possibly be.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Burzum
Album: Filosofem


 


written by NECURATU | 08.02.2007


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Katatronik - 09.02.2007 at 15:30  
Wonderful, amazing album, the last great Burzum album IMO (I don't like very much the ambient albums)...
I'd give an higher vote, especially in songwriting and overall impression...
villain - 13.06.2007 at 09:58  
Its a big step away from Hvis Lyset tar Oss - but it isa great album nevertheless -with a slower and more droning sound. It resembles a distorted vision of a far away world (typical of burzum) but seems to be more abstract.
Fane - 14.09.2007 at 23:09  
I guess I won't ever get bored to this album.. It just has that something in it. Maybe it's Varg's vocals?
Piro - 23.12.2007 at 03:14  
I simply LOVE the song Lost Wisdom.

Its a good album allround though.
Lucas - 19.01.2008 at 18:54  
Written by Piro on 23.12.2007 at 03:14

I simply LOVE the song Lost Wisdom.


Which is not on this album..
Mr. Doctor - 19.01.2008 at 22:01  
Maybe it's not the best one of Burzum... But it has the best production and vocal work IMO

Just listen to Dunkelheit... The way Varg sing that song.. the lyrics... everything so organic, cold and cruel... I love it!!!

I want to buy this one.. even if R.U.D.T.S.D.S is one of the worst instrumentals that i heard in my life xD¨
The rest is exellent....
Piro - 20.01.2008 at 15:39  
It is on the Remastered Version, the one released in 2002.
W-Lash - 24.01.2008 at 02:43  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 19.01.2008 at 22:01

But it has the best production and vocal work

I totally agree. The only one album that has good vocals.
Metalhead2 - 19.04.2008 at 20:40  
Varg Vikernes

first 2 tracks something the most amazing i have everd heard
Marcus - 22.04.2008 at 05:23  
Yeah, the first half of the album struck me as immense, but the second half is so repetitive that is somewhat lost interest, it was like decent doom metal at best. Varg's vocal work on the first 2 tracks are very amazing though.
Uirapuru - 23.04.2008 at 07:39  
well...compared to all the previous.. i would say that this album is the worst from Burzum. Not for beeing bad, but only the three first tracks work out.. i didnt like the rest... still great work as always. 25 minutes to ''Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat''... with all the atmosphere of the world in it.
Mr. Doctor - 23.04.2008 at 18:57  
I think that this album is really really good.
The first 4 songs are masterpieces IMO each one of them
But the 25 intrumental is just to much... and the second instrumental is just ok... not bad, but it's the same thing as the firs part of Gebrechlichkeit but without the great vocals...

This is still a great album and I will definetely buy it.
Metalhead2 - 02.05.2008 at 13:05  
about instrumental tracks, i prefer Tomhet from Hvis Lyset Tar Oss.
Varg Vikernes
Berfones - 23.05.2008 at 12:28  
"I wander how life would be with a death that I shall never see
I wonder why life must be lasting on eternaly..."
Hamird - 23.06.2008 at 21:56  
This album is what never wont be repeated! This was my debut with Black Metal. First black metal album that I've got and listened was this, and I really enjoyed and a funny memory from this album, was that I was listening to "Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat" and it didn't finished
It was amazing to listen to Jesu Tod after Dunkelheit, it was a kind of harmony...
Mr. Doctor - 23.08.2008 at 18:06  
I found this album and bought it... Finally.

This album is pure magic. I listened it just an hour ago and I'm feel very strange.
The vocals and the wall of sound that the guitarrs and the drums creatre is just haunting.

And something very strange happened:
I liked the 25-minute instrumental. I spend that time reading the norwegian text that are put along the lyrics and that instrumental seemed very cold and calm. Decrepitude II seemed also very good. It doesn't have the vocals and the guitars are secondary. But some keyboards are more precent. Very good atmosphere.

I love this album.

PS: And the artwork is simply awesome
Dark Seraphim - 26.12.2008 at 08:25  
Filosofem was the first Burzum album I bought and still remains my favourite. It is so beautiful in it's darkness. The packaging was awesome too.
worm_is_gloaming - 01.03.2009 at 21:24  
Perfect review that sums up everything I've felt about this album. I find it harder to listen to than other Burzum creations, for the reason that it is his deepest and most anguishingly introspective work, and it shows in every note of it - one has to be in a very particular state of mind in order to take all of it in and be deeply moved by it, a very intent and personal listening experience.
ms68 - 05.03.2009 at 19:06  
When i'm listening to Jesus' Tod it usually lates more than 40min. because it really blows my mind away and i can't do anything but repeating track and using my imagination about atmosphere varg wanted to draw in listener's mind
Maxx666 - 16.07.2009 at 22:57  
One Of my all time favorites:bow:
Ellrohir - 30.08.2009 at 22:48  
"Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat" - epic sequel to "Tomhet" from previous album...twice as lasting and twice as mind blowing love it
Smurfophagist - 30.08.2009 at 23:18  
I somehow feel that I haven't paid this album the respect it deserves...I should listen to it again
Slayer666 - 29.09.2009 at 21:54  
This is the shit...Some of Burzum's greatest work, and that's saying something...
Although. it could use just a tiny bit better production.
Cuca Beludo - 01.12.2011 at 22:44  
That's how black metal have to sound: RAW! Really, I am loving all of this. When it comes to black metal, Varg and Quorthon were the best! Also, the track number 5. is good to listen before sleep...

But, you could have given this album a better note, like... 10 This is the best black metal album along with Bathory's "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark".
Troy Killjoy - 01.12.2011 at 22:54  
Written by Guest on 01.12.2011 at 22:44
That's how black metal have to sound: RAW!

Burzum is actually far less raw in comparison to a lot of black metal bands.
@gent_-_orange - 01.12.2011 at 23:53  
This is Burzum's most consistent album which is not saying much because IMO the final two songs are nothing but filler. But if I had to get a Burzum album its would be this one.

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