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Filosofem

Burzum Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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1. Dunkelheit
2. Jesus' Tod
3. Erblicket Die Tochter Des Firmaments
4. Gebrechlichkeit I
5. Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule Der Singularitat
6. Gebrechlichkeit II

Product Description

Product Description

1996 album for the now defunct Norwegian metal act. Six tracks. Misanthropy Records. Digipak.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A few things you should know about 'Filosofem' March 18 2010
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
'Filosofem' seems always to have been the most popular Burzum release, and while lacking the utter perfection of 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' (see my review of that), it is still a fantastic piece of work, epic and full of anguish. The guitar sound is crisper and more defined than other Burzum releases, yet still has a beautiful coldness, all washing and swathe-like. Folk art by Theodor Kittelsen illustrates the sleeve, and while Kittelsen seems to be a favourite with Norwegian musicians from Wongraven to When, rarely has any music matched the atmosphere of his drawings as it does here.

"Suddenly, life has new meaning..." It's hard not to feel a chill down the spine as Varg sings that line...or during the entirety of 'Beholding the Daughters of the Firmament', where a poem by Tolkien is changed to mirror the dreadful cold of winter and ancient night. Yes, this is a quintessential Burzumic release...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars L'oeuvre maîtresse du comte May 22 2004
Format:Audio CD
"Filosofem" fut le dernier album enregistré par Varg Vikernes avant son incarcération. Il s'agit là d'une merveille macabre empreinte de froideur, de colère et de mélancolie. C'est sans nul doute l'œuvre la plus personnelle du maître, celle qui illustre le mieux ses sentiments torturés... L'épopée se scinde en deux parties distinctes.
La première (qui comprend les trois premiers titres) est la partie métallique de l'album. C'est, selon moi, ce qui a été fait de mieux dans le domaine du Black Metal. Les vocaux criards si caractéristiques des œuvres antérieures de Burzum ont été remplacés par la voix distordue et électronique du comte. Cette voix inhumaine est supportée par des riffs saturés à saveur industrialisée et des claviers d'une simplicité déconcertante mais d'une froideur inégalée. Les trois morceaux (que je qualifie d'"Odinpop") sont magnifiquement beaux et tristes.
La seconde (et tout aussi géniale) partie tombe dans le dark ambiant à saveur minimaliste. On se laisse bercer par la noirceur et la volupté des airs ultra simplistes se répétant à l'infini dans le vide intersidéral...
"Filosofem" est une œuvre d'art qui survivra aux millénaires.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  56 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The album that defined contemporary black metal Jan. 31 2008
By Christopher Krause - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have such reverence for this album that it feels like arrogant presumption to even talk about it and judging it seems to be blind hubris. One thing is for sure: Filosofem ("The Philosophy") defined contemporary black metal by blatantly ignoring the rubrics, limitations and "rules" that had come before it and truly maturing the genre as a diverse artform. Before Filosofem most black metal sounded similar, explored similar lyrical motifs and avoided incorporating elements from other genres, after Filosofem black metal became a spirit rather than a rule-bound scene, a spirit which permeates every release but does not restrict the music technically. In essence Filosofem signaled the death knell of "true" black metal and gave birth to post-Black Metal.

Instead of having a fixed toolset to work with, Filosofem introduced the notion that the true black metal artist should use whatever he can to express the feeling of dread, isolation and misery he is overcome with - inspiring contemporary bands like Deathspell Omega, Diabolical Masquerade, Astrofaes, Leviathan, Xasthur and Blut Aus Nord to incorporate experimental, introspective movements within their work which during the time before Filosofem would have been considered pretentious at best, and at worst, a betrayal of the "true" meaning of black metal.

Filosofem ignored the restrictive boundaries and formula of prior black metal and presented a very personal, existential philosophy on life - expressed musically in a novel way. Here we see the introduction of the heavily distorted, maddened, desperate style of vocals, the complex layering of complicated guitar riffs to create the illusion of chaos, the slow heartbeat style of drumming used as a bassline to give a song an immediate contemplative effect, introspective melodies choked by dry, scratching riffing, the introduction of industrial instruments to accomplish emotional effects, highly personal stream of consciousness lyrics rather than punk inspired, macho, silly Satan worship, and finally, and perhaps most novel: completely throwing out formulaic song structures, constructing songs as to express a philosophy or idea rather than to merely "rock out" at a concert, constructing entire tracks around ambient noise and droning, austere, mind provoking, minimalistic melodies.

In essence Filosofem introduced the idea of a personal project that wasn't meant to be played live, that wasn't trying to prove anything to anyone, that was created in a way that most clearly expresses a philosophy for means of meditation and reflection. Many "solo" black metal bands emerged after the advent of Filosofem as men found it an ideal method of expression without pretending to be a rock star, or suiting themselves to the puerile expectations of others. Today Varg Vikernes remains an especially aloof, erudite, thoughtful man who still holds to the notion that Burzum was created for his own good, not the entertainment of others, and especially not for purposes of fame or gold; at most the music is offered in hopes of sharing insights gained, in darkness and in hardship. Fame, roadies, intoxication and the whole "scene" which accompanies music is worthless for Varg, and he showed others soon to form solo projects that it was capable to express oneself honestly, and in whatever way is best (meaning: no limitations), without needing to feel shame. This sort of integrity is known only to good philosophers and the method to which Varg created his music is still imitated today as good philosophers still imitate the Socratic Method.

Filosofem is a profound, moving experience that is crucial listening for those seeking an examination of the human spirit.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Varg's masterpiece Sept. 8 2007
By W. G - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the last Burzum album that is metal, with the next two being dark ambient recorded in his jail cell. While those are good, they don't have the same impact as his metal albums and in particular, this one. This was released while he was in jail and he says he has never heard the final master of it (he has later explained why he said that) but it is perfect. A lot of people like to complain about the sound, saying it is horrible and that any atmosphere is lost due to it, but that is simply untrue. Any real black metal fan knows that production like this only ENHANCES the atmosphere to even greater proportions. While Varg may not be the most talented musician in the world, his knack for songwriting and mesmerizing passages are one of a kind. Just listen to the first track, Dunkelheit, and tell me it is not brilliant.

This album consists of 4 metal tracks and 2 ambient ones, the last two being ambient, and even more, the last track is the ambient version of track 4.

1. Dunkelheit (Darkness) - metal
2. Jesus' Tod (The Death of Jesus) - metal
3. Erblicket Die Töchter Des Firmaments (Beholding the Daughters of the Firmament) - metal
4. Gebrechlichkeit I (Decrepitude I) - metal
5. Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Säule Der Singularität (Travelling Between the Transcendental Pillars of Singularity, or something like that. My German is not too good) - ambient
6. Gebrechlichkeit II (Decrepitude II) - ambient

With that said, the metal songs themselves are really Ambient Black Metal because they entrance you and provide wondeful soundscapes. Every track on here is amazing, even the 25 minute track 5, which works even if it is only the same 6 notes being played over and over again. Listen to this in the dark and let your mind wander far off into the distant mountains and forests. The repetition each song presents is never boring, but mesmerizing and captivates you and pulls you into its dark lair. Listening to these songs, it's like you are dreaming, dreaming something cold and sorrowful, then you awake to find yourself amidst a nighttime forest filled with all the creatures that the night brings.

Varg was/is a master of composing beautiful melodies and epic black metal and turning everything upside down in the process, making everything you think you know about black metal irrelevant. If you can buy only one album, let it be this one and discover the secrets of the universe in the process...

P.S. To everyone who takes sides with Euronymous and Varg. Can't you just enjoy both bands?
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars production? April 20 2005
By E. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A guy complained about the production ruining the music. I don't think so in this case, it works fine. Burzum has other releases where the production truly is quite (bad), like the aske/self titled. I think his statemenst would make more sense in that context.

As for the music/album, I'd say Varg has made a beautiful and personal album, his melodies touch on odd emotions that are carried throughout, his songwriting is fine that doesn't really stick to a particular bm aesthetic though it does have that vibe. I can't complain. It's a contemplative album that tells plenty about the guy who wrote it if you're willing to pay attention to detail. Lots of people try to create black metal that is 'true' and 'kvlt', whatever the that is they miss the point of making music(although I do enjoy a good homage to a particular sound). Regardless of who he killed and what he burned, this guy made honest music and it's pretty darned listenable. This actually sounds like it came from one mind, one musician, with no other members to contribute their misinterpretations of what Varg was after. The album runs the gamut of emotions from dark, brooding, sorrowful, introspective, reflective, contemplative, odd melancholy, and the serenity of being completely alone, lost in the wonders of drifting thought uninterrupted. It's a very human album, if you ask me and I don't think I've really heard anything as personal as this, save maybe stuff like Hank Williams Sr or Today is the Day. In a word, it's unique and pretty good too.

I recommend it, but surely you're not clueless as to what this sort of stuff is.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Varg's strongest effort March 10 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Filosofem isn't merely an album, but a disturbing journey into the mind of Vark Vikernes. Which each track, he evokes more emotion than I could ever tell you with words. The Black Metal songs on this release are arguably his best...from the slow, meandering "Dunkelheit (Burzum)" to the faster & unbelievably eerie "Jesus' Tod", Varg shows us a new meaning to the term Black Metal. Aside from the 3 BM songs, the rest of the CD is filled with twisted Ambient. Some noisy...distorted guitars & rasping vocals, to the 25 minute keyboard song which has only one melody all the way through (absolutely the best meditation track I have ever heard in my life). As the reviewer before me said, if you don't like Burzum, you don't like Black Metal.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another masterpiece from Varg Feb. 11 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Black metal begins and ends with Burzum. If you don't like Burzum, then you don't like black metal. It's as simple as that. Varg delivers another disk of brilliance, which will make one ponder their pitiful existence in this world of emptyness in which we live. Mandatory listening at 3 AM with the lights off, Varg always delivers spirituality for those with esoteric taste who understand the beauty in darkness.
Musically, Varg continues with the atmospheric approach of Hvis... but utilizes an interesting "walkie-talkie" vocal approach that fits the music perfectly. Harsh vocals, and pure minimalism are what Burzum is all about. No other artist can communicate so much with so little, and this is why Varg is beloved by all who are true.
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