The Depths of Darkness
Though he's proud of the early Burzum recordings—which were made when he was just a teenager—Varg Vikernes later claimed that he couldn’t stand to listen to them because they were recorded so poorly. So when it came time to release a retrospective, he chose to rerecord his early songs rather than return to the original tapes. The result is From the Depths of Darkness, which found the 37-year-old Vikernes returning to Grieg Hall, the studio where he'd recorded the first Burzum songs 18 years earlier. Though purists may insist that the amateur edge of those early recordings is part of what made them compelling, there's no denying the additional impact of these 2010 versions. They're meatier and more muscular. Though Varg’s feral scream retains its singular power to unnerve, these recordings have a warmth and thickness that the originals—with their brisk, brittle design—were missing. These versions of “My Journey to the Stars,” “Ea, Lord of the Depths," and “Feeble Screams from Forests Unknown” leave no doubt as to Burzum’s ability to incinerate any and all competition from the world of so-called “heavy” metal.