Burzum - Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
ATOMIZER Vocalist/Bass Player Jason Healey on Burzum's 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss'
"I see Burzum as a dream without holds in reality. It is to stimulate the fantasy of mortals, to make them dream."
Though not the first offering of the then Count Grishnackh, 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' radiates for me as the most majestic of Burzum's works. Not a musical theme I recall being on the lookout for at the time, this dichotomy of raw emotion and ethereal dissonance still causes me to marvel after all these years at how something so barbaric in nature can at the same time be atmospherically refined, ritualistic, and as per the Count's suggestion, dream-like.
No one ever gave a vocal delivery quite like that witnessed on a Burzum record - at least not on any manifestation I had heard at that time. So cruel, so raw, so riddled with anguish; listening alone offered no new wisdom, no insights previously unknown and the mysticism was amplified further for the strictly English speaking individual that I still am, as the lyrics were printed in Norwegian. Despite this, it was obvious to me that something profound was emanating from the speakers... something I don't know that I have felt to the same degree since, with perhaps the exception of the 'Filosofem' album; an offering I may have also chosen for this purpose were it not for the fact that I find myself equally as bewitched by 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' now as I did some 16 years ago.
The idea of Norway was a fairly abstract one for me back then. I knew nothing of the country until I discovered its burgeoning black metal scene. Intoxicated by not only the ferocity of the bands hailing from that frostbitten land, but the diversity, the cultural inclinations and the seemingly sophisticated esoteria that accompanied these often primal yet frequently exceptionally executed outbursts. This was not simply music, but a grand declaration of war! Detractors may be forgiven for confusing the motivation for interest in Burzum's recorded expressions with the oft-discussed acts of arson and terror waged by Varg Vikernes, but it would be erroneous to view his guerilla tactics as an enhancement of this musical odyssey. Had the most unremarkable character unleashed a record such as 'Hvis...' it still would have stood as a surreal masterpiece. That the character of Vikernes was outlandish, outspoken and waved the black-flag of revolution undoubtedly increased the aura of conviction experienced when listening.
Burzum is a manifestation that I believe could only ever been this one man's expression. I wonder whether Vikernes was ever concerned with what a listener would extract from these records. I believe it was he who existed in the aforementioned dream and this opus, 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' - if the light takes us, was a portal into his trance.
And though the 'Aske' MLP would share a more obvious parallel with my own musical output, Burzum's third full length offering spoke to me of endless musical possibilities, it became a barometer for intensity of expression and a soundboard for just how revolutionary black metal can be and the importance of those who demonstrate the courage to do as they will. I don't care for bands seeking influence, but I revere acts that generate inspiration for those attuned and capable to receive it. Burzum surely rests on the precipice of illuminated creativity.
Select Atomizer Discography:
'The End Of Forever' - End All Life Productions 2000
'Death.Mutation.Disease.Annihilation.' - End All Life Productions/Drakkar 2002
'The Only Weapon Of Choice' - The AJNA Offensive 2003
'Caustic Music For The Spiritually Bankrupt' - Hells Headbangers 2008