It is cliché to say that the post-incarceration Burzum albums suck. It’s also cliché to say that it’s cliché. Whatever. I really don’t care to write about Fallen, but I refuse to consider this album properly approached until I have some words published about it.
Fallen is the second album (eighth overall) released by Varg Vikernes following his release from prison in 2009. It utilizes the same progressions and ideas explored in Belus, namely low-fidelity, minimalist black metal. The same issues as before are still here: Vikernes’ voice is shredded, with the same awkward whisper-scream that sounds like the result of either poor technique or a pack of cigarettes a day. There are several spoken-word passages, a vocal method that Vikernes would pursue further on follow-up Umskiptar. Vikernes sings cleanly for the first time in his career here – most prominently on lead track “Jeg Faller” – however, his inability to hold a tune and general stuffiness of voice does not do any good. He straight mumbles on “Vanvidd.” There are several folk-influenced passages, such as on “Budstikken,” and occasional female vocals that add a bit of depth and newness to otherwise bland melodic riffs.
In fact, much of Fallen contains actually halfway-decent tracks, but as with Belus, Vikernes stretches his ideas way, way too long. The world only needed one Filosofem from this man. Vikernes’ permanently hoarse voice compounds this issue; it would not be unfair to say that Fallen would be pretty good if it weren’t a Burzum album, as Vikernes simply cannot keep up musically to fully express his ideas. “Valen” is especially blatant; Vikernes attempts long screams at the (3:35-3:40) and (6:35-6:40) marks that would be amazing if they came from Vikernes twenty years prior, but prison made the man impotent of voice. Fallen fails to impress at each turn, and it’s simply because the artist no longer sounds capable of performing his work.
As with Belus, Fallen is a gigantic “what could have been” rather than a worthwhile addition to one’s black metal discography, with ideas more interesting than what could be produced by their creator. Perhaps another band can do it better one day.
1. Fra Verdenstreet1 – (1:03) – ★★★☆☆
2. Jeg Faller2 – (7:50) – ★★★☆☆
3. Valen3 – (9:21) – ★☆☆☆☆
4. Vanvidd4 – (7:06) – ★★☆☆☆
5. Enhver til Sitt5 – (6:16) – ★☆☆☆☆
6. Budstikken6 – (10:10) – ★☆☆☆☆
7. Til Hel og Tilbake Igjen7 – (5:57) – ★★☆☆☆
1Norwegian translation: “From the World Tree”
2Norwegian translation: “I am Falling”
3Norwegian translation: “Fallen”8
4Norwegian translation: “Madness”
5Norwegian translation: “To Each Man His Own”
6Norwegian translation: “The Message”
7Norwegian translation: “To Hel and Back Again”
8In case you didn’t get the point.