BURZUM (1991–PRESENT). Varg (Kristian) Vikernes (vocals/guitar/bass/keyboards/drums).
In the realm of black metal, Burzum is one of the key bands who helped to establish the parameters of both music and in living the lifestyle. Burzum was the unholy brainchild of murderous ex-Mayhem bassist Varg Vikernes (aka Count Grishnakh). Vikernes developed Burzum as an ongoing project where he played all the instruments. The band served as a vehicle not only for Vikernes’ idea about expanding the parameters of black metal but also for articulating his own twisted philosophy.
While much of black metal is particularly brutal, much of the work of Burzum is actually more like ambient trance music, only designed to allow the listener to experience the particular version of “magick” that Vikernes has encoded in the songs. Vikernes has been in jail for almost a decade now for murdering Euronymous of Mayhem, and, after an escape attempt several years ago, it is unclear if he will be released any time soon. Vikernes was also a Tolkien aficionado, and the name Count Grishnakh is taken from an orc in the J. R. R. Tolkien book The Two Towers, and the name Burzum is a word used by Tolkien on the inscription of the one ring.
Discography: Det Som engang Var (Mysanthropy, 1993); Hvis lysetTar Oss (Mysanthropy, 1994); Filosofem (Fereal House, 1996); Balder’s Dod (Mysanthropy, 1997); Daudi Baldrs (Mysanthropy, 1997); Hlidskjalf (Misanthropy, 1999).