Burzum (/ˈbɜrzəm/; Norwegian: [ˈbʉrtsʉm]) is the musical project of Norwegian musician and writer Varg Vikernes. 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. The project became a part of the early Norwegian black metal scene and one of the most influential acts in black metal. 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 three further black metal albums and several ambient/electronic albums.
Although Vikernes is known for his political views, he does not use Burzum to promote those views. Burzum has never played live and Vikernes says he has no intention of doing so.