Burzum is the solo project of Varg Vikernes (born Kristian Larsson Vikernes, AKA Greven Grishnackh/Count Grishnackh, currently legally named Varg Qisling Larssøn Vikernes). The band was initially known as Uruk-hai, Varg Vikernes’ first band which he formed in 1988-89. He changed the name to Burzum (meaning “darkness” in Black Speech, the language of Mordor in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings) in 1991 after the disbanding of Satanel, a band he founded with Abbath of Immortal.
Burzum played a vital role, along with other Norwegian black metal bands such as Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor and Immortal, in the development of black metal as a musical genre and ideology. In particular, the ambient black metal and depressive black metal subgenres owe much to Burzum’s sound.
From his 1992 debut, Burzum, until his final black metal album, 1996’s Filosofem, Burzum went from playing raw, primitive black metal to playing ambient, exclusively synthesizer-based music. His two most recent albums, 1997’s Dauði Baldrs and 1999’s Hliðskjálf, are purely dark ambient works recorded whilst in prison. However, they do not represent a...