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Burzum - Umskiptar.jpg
Studio album by Burzum
Released 21 May 2012 (2012-05-21)
Recorded September 2011 at Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway
Length 66:16
Label Byelobog
Burzum chronology
From the Depths of Darkness
(2011)From the Depths of Darkness2011
Sôl austan, Mâni vestan
(2013)Sôl austan, Mâni vestan2013

Umskiptar (Old Norse for Metamorphosis) is the ninth studio album by the Norwegian one-man band Burzum, released on 21 May 2012 through Byelobog Productions.[1][2][3] It has been described by Varg Vikernes as a "return to the roots", with a priority on atmosphere. The album's lyrics are taken from an Old Norse poem entitled Völuspá.[3] The album was leaked two months before its release date, due, according to Vikernes, to a former PR agent of his having "sent promotional copies of the entire album to left wing extremist magazines" without his knowledge or consent.[4]

The cover art is taken from the painting Nótt by Norwegian painter Peter Nicolai Arbo.[3] It is Vikernes' final heavy metal album.


Despite featuring "a stripped-down" viking metal sound that "pays homage" to the likes of Bathory and early Enslaved,[5] Umspkiptar retains "the fuzzy riffing and low production values" of Burzum's previous black metal releases. SputnikMusic's Kyle Ward described the album's style as "an odd bastardization of the usual black metal sound."[6] The album also rarely features harsh vocals.[6]

The track "Alfadanz" features a "submerged" piano intro and repeating simple riffs.[6][7] "Gullaldr" is a ten-minute-long spoken word track, overlaid with guitar plucking.[6] "Níðhöggr" finds Vikernes whispering over field recordings, a bass drum, and a "distant, wobbly tone."[7] The vocals are buried "between sheets of black-metal guitar screech" on the track "Heiðr," while "Valgaldr", is described as "an eight-minute bog in which he wraps ghoulish harmonies around distorted riffs," with a sound compared to "Iron Maiden on Thorazine."[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Metal Storm 3.0/10[5]

The album generally received negative reviews from music critics. Metal Storm's staff critic Troy Killjoy wrote: "Rather than beautifully composed epic melodious black metal anthems, encouraging atmospheric tales of fantasy and historical wars, or even the traditional grim and frostbitten stylings of the second wave (of which Burzum was a significant part), Varg presents the world with his least imaginative work to date - even taking Dauði Baldrs into consideration."[5]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Translation (by Varg Vikernes) Length
1. "Blóðstokkinn" Soaked in Blood 1:10
2. "Jóln" Deities 5:46
3. "Alfadanz" Elven Dance 9:34
4. "Hit helga Tré" The Sacred Tree 6:47
5. "Æra" Honour 3:54
6. "Heiðr" Esteem 2:57
7. "Valgaldr" Song of the Fallen 7:57
8. "Galgviðr" Gallow Forest 7:12
9. "Surtr Sunnan" Black from the South 4:11
10. "Gullaldr" Golden Age 10:14
11. "Níðhöggr" Attack from Below 4:59
Total length: 66:16


Album personnel as adapted from official Burzum website.[3]

  • Varg Vikernes – vocals, all instruments, production, design, layout
  • Pytten – production, mixing
  • Davide Bertolini – production
  • Naweed – mastering
  • Dan Capp – design, layout


  1. ^ "Umskiptar (Limited Deluxe Digibook)". Plastic Head. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  2. ^ "News". 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
  3. ^ a b c d "Burzum "Umskiptar" 2012". 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
  4. ^ Grimmsberg, Kai (2012-04-29). "Interview with Varg Vikernes". HeavyMusic. Power Studio. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  5. ^ a b c Troy Killjoy. "Burzum - Umskiptar: Metal Storm (staff review)". Metal Storm. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Kyle Ward. "Review: Burzum - Umskiptar : Sputnikmusic". SputnikMusic. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Currin, Grayson (2012-06-08). "Burzum: Umskiptar". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2012-08-10.

External links[edit]