Burzum is a music project that began in 1991 by the Norwegian musician and writer Varg Vikernes. It became a part of the early Norwegian black metal scene and is considered to be one of the most influential acts in the genre.
Vikernes began making music in 1988, but it was not until 1991 that he recorded his first demos as Burzum. The word "burzum" means "darkness" in the Black Speech, a fictional language crafted by Lord of the Rings writer J. R. R. Tolkien. Vikernes recorded the first four Burzum albums between January 1992 and March 1993. However, the releases were spread out, with many months between the recording and the release of each album.
In May 1994, Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the murder of Mayhem guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth and the arson of three churches. While imprisoned, Vikernes recorded two dark ambient albums using only synthesizers, as he did not have access to drums, guitar or bass. Since his release from prison in 2009, he has recorded several more albums. Although Vikernes is known for his political views, he does not use Burzum to promote those views, and his lyrics are non-political.
From his 1992 debut, Burzum, until his (for the time being) final black metal album, 1996's Filosofem, Burzum went from playing raw, primitive black metal to playing ambient, exclusively synthesizer-based music. His two albums, 1997's Dauði Baldrs and 1999's Hliðskjálf, are purely dark ambient works recorded whilst in prison. However, they do not represent a complete departure from Burzum's previous works, as his albums always contained keyboard elements, and there were keyboard-only pieces on every album except Aske. Throughout his career, Varg has managed to create and maintain a very distinct sound unique to Burzum.
Despite Norwegian black metal scene being associated with anti-Christianity and anti-religion in general, Burzum's lyrics have been dealing largely with Tolkien world and general mysticism. Varg has totally distanced himself from the satanism usually associated with black metal.
Due to his imprisonment for several church arsons and the murder of Euronymous of Mayhem, Vikernes has become one of the most notorious figures within the Norwegian black metal scene. Vikernes maintains that he killed Euronymous in an act of self-defense, and denies participation in the burning of three Norwegian stave churches.
To read what Varg has to say about the origins of Burzum, '92/'93, and his own ideology as well as other matters concerning Burzum and Varg Vikernes, read his series of articles (A Burzum Story) at http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/, provided at the current official Burzum and Varg Vikernes website.
After 2012's Umskiptar, Varg said he is done with metal and now only produces ambient music albums under Burzum name. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.