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Double vinyl LP pressing. 2012 album from the Norwegian Black Metal band led by Varg Vikernes. Umskiptar finds inspiration from the verses of famous Scandinavia poem Voluspa. Expanding the ongoing influence of Nordic Folk, the album adds more traditional heavy metal, signature Burzum composition, but with a keener emphasis on vocal delivery (again presented in Vikernes native tongue). Vikernes says, ''Umskiptar is a return-to-roots album for me, with a strong focus on atmosphere and wholeness. The vocals are more important than on any previous album.''
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The music is pure Burzum, full of chainsaw guitars, repeated motifs in the songs, and full, epic sweep. Changes in dynamics, such as the solo piano in Alfadanz and the pounding drums that open the album, break things up without jarring the listener or detracting from the atmospheric spell that Vikernes weaves.
Vikernes' voice is no longer the pained, angry yowl of his youth; nevertheless, it is quite expressive and suits the mood of the music and words well. His voice takes on different roles. At times, he sounds like a grizzled chieftain relating the tale. In some places, he sounds like a poet. On Valgaldr, he sounds downright otherworldly.
Umskiptar is the fourth Burzum album to be released in just over two years. Vikernes maintains a standard of high quality. Umskiptar is to be savored from beginning to end; it is a rewarding experience. Recommended.
Today, I found myself crammed in an overfull bus that was hot and smothering. I decided to close my eyes and listen to Umskiptar. Soon, I forgot about the sorry conditions of where I was, and instead found myself in some place better. I think that's a testament to the transcending strength of this new Burzum album.
I've listened to this maybe three or four times so far and find new little bits every time. It's truly a fantastic album and as my title states, second only to Filosofem. That says a lot too because I really, really love Belus.
Ultimately if you will like this album or not is a very personal thing and also depends on what other music you appreciate. You can easily listen to the whole thing on youtube, and I recommend listening to it there before you buy it.