Though it takes its title from Burzum’s second album, this edition of Aske also includes the band’s eponymous debut. Because the original artwork for Aske (Norwegian for “ashes”) showed the remains of a church that Varg Vikernes had been accused of burning, the powers that be wisely chose to use the artwork from the first album for this edition. Aside from the guitar solo on “War”—which is played by Varg’s black metal compatriot Euronymous who Vikenes later murdered—all the instrumentation was made by Vikernes, who was just 19 at the time of recording. An intelligent teen obsessed with Tolkien, Norse mythology, and Europe's emerging extreme metal scene, he set out to design a genre unto itself. Though he was a fan of Celtic Frost and Bathory, Vikernes tried to purge his music of any mainstream metal signifiers. The result is something impressively devoid of pretense—almost like the sort of ceremonial indigenous music that Varg was surely envisioning when he first formed the band. Though the riffs are unmistakably influenced by metal, the drumbeats and screams are primal, like something from another century.

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