Monday, September 8, 2008

Burzum - Aske (1993)


Aske was released in March 1993, on Deathlike Silence Productions. It was recorded in August 1992, at Grieghallen Studios and produced by Count Grishnackh and Pytten. Aske is unique in that it features a session member. Samoth, of Emperor, plays bass on this E.P. This was around the time that the Count was considering putting together a full lineup and playing live. Despite being the second official Burzum release, this E.P. was recorded after Det Som Engang Var, which was intended to be released first. The cover features a photo of the ruins of the Fantoftkirke, a church burned in 1992 by Count Grishnackh.

The E.P. begins with "Stemmen Fra Tårnet", which fades in and immediately seizes you by the throat. The tempo is sort of a mid-paced gallop, and the terrible shrieks rip right into your soul. This song seems to appeal to the imagination, and evokes images of a landscape befitting a Tolkien novel. While maintaining a dark atmosphere, this is probably the most uptempo Burzum song ever recorded. The title translates to "Voice From the Tower" and the lyrics could be interpreted as somewhat optimistic. Certainly an escape from reality and the confines of this world. Sadly, the song cuts off, abruptly, and the dream dissipates into nothingness.

The very somber "Dominus Sathanas" is next. This is a very dark and atmospheric instrumental track, though it does include one extremely soul-shattering scream. This song was recorded in April 1992, around the same time as Det Som Engang Var, and would not be out of place on that album. This song drags the listener back into the abyss visited on the debut L.P.

The E.P. concludes with a re-recorded version of "A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit". Apparently, the Count was not satisfied with the way that it turned out, the first time around. This version is slower (and longer) and I think that helps the atmosphere greatly. It is during these moments that the melodies lull you into a trance and your mind is most open to the magic within the songs.

This song features more straightforward Black Metal riffing and cold, hateful vocals. After a couple minutes of this, the song slows way down and the mournful atmosphere returns. This is the longest song on the album and is quite entrancing. This song has a very calming effect. You know that death is near, yet you have come to grips with this fact. No longer consumed with hatred for the world or for life, you simply await the end. As the riffs chill your skin, you know that soon you will be free of this prison of flesh. You begin to think about how peaceful everything will be once the end comes. Yet it is taking too long. You become impatient. The song speeds up once more and you unleash the last bit of hatred and energy as you slash at your veins, moving closer to the abyss. The song slows down to a crawl. Count Grishnackh's miserable shrieks fill your soul with a longing for the end. Plagued with memories of suffering and despair, you yearn to be free. His screams continue and they speak to you on a level beyond human language. The time is ever nearer. The sorrow must be released.