Though Varg Vikernes would undoubtedly shudder at the thought, Fallen is undeniably a more traditional-sounding album than anything from Burzum’s past. While “Enhver til Sitt” (“Each Man His Own”) and “Vanvidd” (“Madness”) reanimate the formlessly propulsive style that Vikernes patented as a teenager, “Jeg Faller” and “Valen” adopt far more accessible and conventional song structures. They even have—dare we say?—identifiable melodies and verse-chorus structures. Of course the spiky textures are distinctly Burzum-esque, but there’s no question that Vikernes is loosening his strict aesthetic code in his old age. Who’s to stop him? After all, the purpose of Burzum was never to rest on a particular style but to question all rules. One could even go so far as to say “Budstikken” (“The Message”) actually grooves, and that’s not meant as a pejorative. It’s one of the band’s best songs to date. Of course, Burzum’s feeling for ambient soundscapes is part of what sets the band apart—and part of why “Til Hel Og Tilbake Igjen” (“To Hell and Back Again”) is not only the album’s final song but possibly its most important.

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