Recorded in March 1993 and released in January 1996, Filosofem is a definitive statement of Burzum’s career. True to its title—a Norwegian word for “a philosophical statement, theorem, or axiom”—the album was recorded in 17 hours on the cheapest possible equipment. Sole group member Varg Vikernes didn’t even use a real amplifier. Instead, he plugged into his brother’s stereo, treated it with some borrowed fuzz pedals, and requested that the studio technician supply him with the cheapest possible microphone. The aesthetic was a deliberate rebuke of metal’s insistence on technical superiority and high-end equipment. Varg wanted to upend all convention. He recorded everything on Filosofem in one take and argued that any mistakes made the music more “pure and natural,” qualities he considered more important than technical perfection. The guitar tone here is unlike anything else you’ll find. Icy and fiery all at once, it's a sound that incinerates anything it contacts. Though Varg’s high-speed drumming lights up “Jesus’ Tod,” the rest of the album forms a shimmering nightmare that only seems to gain strength as it slows its pace.

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