|Genres||Black metal, dark ambient|
|Labels||Deathlike Silence, Cymophane, Misanthropy, Byelobog|
|Associated acts||Mayhem, Old Funeral, Darkthrone|
|Count Grishnackh (Varg Vikernes)|
Burzum is the musical project by Varg Vikernes (under the pseudonym "Count Grishnackh"). It began during 1991 in Bergen, Norway and quickly became prominent within the early Norwegian black metal scene. During 1992 and 1993, Burzum recorded four albums; however, in 1994 Vikernes was convicted and imprisoned for the murder of guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth and the arson of several churches. While imprisoned, Vikernes recorded two albums in the dark ambient style.
Burzum's music features characteristics common in black metal, including distorted, tremolo-picked guitar riffs, harsh vocals, and the use of blast beat and double bass techniques in the drumming. All of the band's albums feature intentionally low production quality. The band's early music shows heavy Tolkien influence; for example, the name "Count Grishnackh" is taken from an orc character called Grishnákh in Tolkien's works. The choice of the name for the project reflects both this influence and the desire for anonymity: "Burzum" is a word of the Black Speech of Mordor meaning "darkness" (though Vikernes believes that Pagans consider it to mean "light" as opposed to how Christians consider it to mean "darkness"), and is one of those found on the Ring-inscription of the One Ring (the final part of the Ring inscription being "…agh Burzum-ishi krimpatul, or "…and in the darkness bind them"). Some of Burzum's early songs featured titles like "En ring til å herske" ("One Ring to Rule"); however, Vikernes later explained this to be a reference to the Rheingold of Norse mythology rather than to Tolkien's works, which themselves owe debt to Norse mythology. As he continued to release albums, Vikernes' attraction to Norse mythology and Pagan beliefs became more and more apparent. Much of Burzum's later music focuses on Norse legends, especially his most recent two ambient albums: Dauði baldrs deals exclusively with the legend of the death of Baldr and Hliðskjálf recounts the death of Wotan and the approach of Ragnarök.
Musically, Burzum has progressed from primitive, raw black metal to classical-influenced ambient music characterised by minimalist tendencies and dark atmospheres. Vikernes' music is characterised by hypnotic repetition and simple yet profound song structures; this trademark sound has been present on Burzum's black metal and electronic albums alike. Vikernes has described Burzum as a kind of "spell" or recreation of an imaginary world tied in with Pagan history. Each album, he claims, was designed as a kind of "spell" in itself, with each beginning song intending to make the listener more susceptible to "magick", the following songs to inspire a "trance-like state of mind", and the last song to carry the listener into a "world of fantasy" (dreams, for the listener would fall asleep—Burzum was supposed to have been evening music). Vikernes claims the intent to create this fantasy world came from dissatisfaction with the real world. He has stated the "message" of Burzum can be found in the lyrics of the first song of the first album ("Feeble Screams from Forests Unknown").
From 1989, Vikernes had been playing in the short lived band Old Funeral which also consisted of members who would later form the band Immortal. He played guitar in the band until 1991 when he left to form his one man band, Burzum. Soon after recording two demo tapes, he became very involved with the Norwegian black metal scene, being both interested in its music and the ideology. With his demo tapes, he had attracted attention from Øystein Aarseth of Mayhem, who had just recently formed Deathlike Silence Productions. Aarseth then signed Burzum to the label, and shortly after, Burzum began to record for his self-titled debut album. According to Vikernes' autobiography on his website, he had intended to record the album in the worst recording quality possible (due to this being a typical trademark of the early Norwegian black metal scene), though still make it sound acceptable. Burzum's eponymous debut album was released in 1992, being the second album released on Deathlike Silence Productions. The song "War" from this album had a guest appearance from Euronymous of Mayhem, playing a guitar solo "just for fun", according to Vikernes.
Vikernes has stated that he had never played any live shows with Burzum, though at one point was interested in it so Samoth of Emperor joined the band as their bassist though only appeared on the Aske EP. Additionally, Erik Lancelot was hired to be the band's drummer, though did not record on any Burzum material, and along with Samoth did not play a live show. Vikernes had by then lost his interest in playing live concerts, and stated that he "didn't even need session musicians anymore". Therefore, Samoth and Lancelot had parted ways with Burzum. Burzum stayed as a solo project until 1994, when Vikernes was arrested for the murder of Euronymous and the burnings of several churches in Norway. Det som engang var was released as Burzum's second album in 1993, recorded in 1992.
Vikernes was in prison for the murder of Euronymous, former guitarist of Mayhem, as well as the arson of several churches in Norway. During his time in prison, Vikernes has recorded two albums in a dark ambient style. They were released as Dauði baldrs (1997) and Hliðskjálf (1999).
Soon after being released Vikernes started writing new tracks, nine metal tracks and an ambient intro and outro, for an upcoming Burzum album. According to Vikernes mentions, several record companies were interested in releasing his first album in eleven years. He stated about the new album, "I want to take my time, and make it the way I want it. It will be metal, and the fans can expect genuine Burzum." The album was going to be originally titled "Den hvite guden" (The White God), but he later decided to change it to "Belus", which was released by "Byelobog productions" on the 8th of March 2010. It has also been announced that a movie will be released in 2010, based on Varg Vikernes' life in the early 1990s. The movie is mainly drawing inspiration from the book "Lords of Chaos", with the film being of the same name. Vikernes expressed his deep contempt towards both the movie and the book it is based upon .
Burzum released his new 2010 album Belus worldwide on 8 March 2010, and Varg will be donating a portion of the proceeds to benefit victims of the Haitian earthquake. 
|Burzum||January 1992||March 1992|
|Det som engang var||April 1992||August 1993|
|Aske||August 1992||March 1993|
|Hvis lyset tar oss||September 1992||May 1994|
|Filosofem||March 1993||January 1996|
|Dauði Baldrs||1994–1995 (in prison)||October 1997|
|Hliðskjálf||1998 (in prison)||April 1999|
|Belus||2009–2010||March 8, 2010|
Burzum is a Black metal/Dark ambient one man band from Bergen, Norway. The band was formed in 1991 by Varg Vikernes. He is serving a prison sentence for the murder of Mayhem guitarist Øystein Aarseth and arson of churches.