Belus (album)

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Belus
Studio album by Burzum
Released 8 March 2010 (2010-03-08)
Recorded Late 2009 – early 2010 at the Grieghallen in Bergen
Genre Black metal, dark ambient
Length 52:16
Label Byelobog
Producer Burzum, Pytten
Burzum chronology
Hliðskjálf
(1999)
Belus
(2010)
Fallen
(2011)

Belus is the seventh full-length album by the Norwegian one-man band Burzum. The first studio album to be recorded after a near 11-year hiatus, it was released on 8 March 2010 through Byelobog Productions.[1][2][3][4]

Background[edit]

Belus was the first album to be recorded and released after Varg Vikernes' May 2009 parole from prison. He had served almost 16 years of a 21-year murder sentence.[5][6] The album was originally called "The Return of Baldur",[7] but Vikernes announced the album in November 2009 as Den Hvite Guden ("The White God" in Norwegian). In December 2009, he announced that the name was being changed to Belus because some in the media speculated that the album might have racist undertones.[8] He stated that the former name had nothing to do with skin colour or racism, but that it was merely a common name for the Norse god Baldr.[9]

Vikernes suggests that Belus is the oldest known (Proto-Indo-European) name of the life-death-rebirth deity that is reflected in the Norse Baldr, the Greek Apollo, the Gaulish Belenus and the Slavic Belobog, among others.[10]

The other Proto-Indo-European theonyms used in the lyrics are "Lukan" (equivalent to the god Loki),[11] "Kaimadalthas" (equivalent to the gods Heimdallr and Hermóðr, which Vikernes believes were initially the same god, Haimaþellar)[12] and "Kelio" (equivalent to the god Hel).[13]

Music[edit]

The album is just over 50 minutes long. It originally contained nine metal tracks (though this was later reduced to only six metal tracks) and an ambient intro and outro. The song names "Besøk til Kelio", "Alvenes dans" and "Alvegavene" were removed from the tracklist, as the original was only a "working tracklist".[14] The album endeavours to explore the ancient European myths about Belus: his death, his journey through the underworld and his return.[3] Although he described modern black metal culture as a "tasteless, low-brow parody" of the early Norwegian black metal scene, Vikernes did not change the style of his music for Belus and likened it to Hvis lyset tar oss and Filosofem.[10] Nevertheless, he claimed to have "evolved" over time. Belus includes two reworked songs: the unreleased "Uruk-Hai" from 1988–1989 (with lyrics and title changed to fit the album's theme), which became "Sverddans", and "Dauði Baldrs" (which appears on the album of the same name as an ambient song), which became "Belus' død". The album's lyrics are wholly in Norwegian and were uploaded to the official Burzum website.[8]

Reception[edit]

Diabolical Conquest gave the album 8.5 out of 10, calling it "pure in vision, desolate, hauntingly familiar, yet new".[15] Allmusic gave Belus 3.5 stars out of 5. It noted that the album was "defiled by intentionally lo-fi production standards that still barely try to mask the sophisticated compositional foundations supporting excellent songs" and named "Glemselens elv" as a highlight.[16] Metal Storm called Belus a "disappointment". They praised the instrumentation but heavily criticized Vikernes' singing, saying "His wolf-esque howls have been replaced with mediocre, wholly unimpressive run-off-the-mill shrieks". They gave the album 6.9 out of 10.[17]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Burzum. 

No. Title Translation
(by Varg Vikernes)
Length
1. "Leukes renkespill (Introduksjon)"   Leuke's Plot (Introduction) 0:33
2. "Belus' doed"   Belus' Death 6:23
3. "Glemselens elv"   River of Forgetfulness 11:54
4. "Kaimadalthas nedstigning"   Kaimadalthas' Descent 6:43
5. "Sverddans"   Sword Dance 2:27
6. "Keliohesten"   The Kelio Horse 5:45
7. "Morgenroede"   Dawn 8:54
8. "Belus' tilbakekomst (Konklusjon)"   Belus' Return (Conclusion) 9:37
Total length:
52:16

Credits[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Finnish Albums Chart[18] 8
Norwegian Albums Chart[19] 23

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Varg Vikernes med nytt album" (in Norwegian). fvn.no. 2009-11-19. Archived from the original on 18 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  2. ^ "Burzum Changes New Album Title from "The White God" to "Belus"". metalunderground.com. 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  3. ^ a b "Burzum "Belus" 2010". burzum.org. 2009-12-12. Archived from the original on 16 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Burzum". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  5. ^ "Burzum to Release 'The White God' Album in the Spring". blabbermouth.net. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  6. ^ "Ute av fengsel" (in Norwegian). dagbladet.no. May 22, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Interview with Varg Vikernes "Devilution" (08.04.2012), by Kent Kirkegaard Jensen". burzum.org. 2012-04-08. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  8. ^ a b "A Burzum Story: Part XII - Belus". burzum.org. 2009-12-02. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  9. ^ "A Burzum Story: Part XI - Birds of a Feather Flock Together". burzum.org. 2009-11-21. Archived from the original on 25 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  10. ^ a b "A Burzum Story: Part X - The White God". burzum.org. 2009-11-14. Archived from the original on 21 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  11. ^ "A Bard's Tale: Part V - Loki". burzum.org. 2006-09-24. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  12. ^ "A Bard's Tale: Part IV - Heimdallr". burzum.org. 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  13. ^ Interview with Varg Vikernes (10.03.2010), by Brandon Stosuy
  14. ^ "Interview with Varg Vikernes (23.02.2010), by EvilG, Lord of the Wasteland, Luxi, and Arto" (in Norwegian). burzum.org. 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Belus - Burzum". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  17. ^ "Burzum - Belus review". Metal Storm. 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  18. ^ Steffen Hung. "Finnish charts portal". finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  19. ^ Steffen Hung. "Norwegian charts portal". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16.