Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/10/2014
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

‘Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry’ CD/LP/DD  track listing:

1). “Prelude”
2). “Paien”
3). “Tellus Mater”
4). “Forhist”
5). “Henosis”
6). “Metaphor Of The Moon”
7). “Clarissima Mundi Lumina”


Originating in 1994 from the ashes of VLAD (who released two demos), BLUT AUS NORD are undisputable French Black Metal pioneers, always managing to progress and move forward, evolving in perpetual mutation, developing their own vision of Black Metal.

Choosing, from the start, the total opposite path of regressive bands (who copy what others have done ten years earlier and ten times better), BLUT AUS NORD eschews all the inherent clichés belonging to the genre. BLUT AUS NORD's Black Metal approach is a fist in the face of mainstream mediocrity, becoming more macabre and sinister through a blend of innovative musical research, subliminal mental manipulation, and an incredible haunted, nightmarish feeling based on disharmony.

BLUT AUS NORD are creators of a hallucinogenic universe, erasing all preconceived ideas of Black Metal - and extreme music in general. They redefine the rules...

The Band:

Vindsval | Guitars, Bass, Keys, Vocals
Thorns | Drums


In the last 8 years, Blut Aus Nord has released 7 full length albums and 4 EPs. Let that sink in for a moment. That is, unquestionably, too much material for any band to release and not see a dip in quality. Blut Aus Nord isn’t immune to it. The last two of the three ‘777’ albums aren’t anything I’ll go back to listen to very often, as they feel under-cooked, even when giving them another listen once I knew this album was imminent. Just counting 2014 they've had three releases: an EP, a split and now ‘Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry’. Despite being lukewarm on some of their more recent material, the history and high quality of the previous ‘Memoria Vetusta’ albums was enough to raise my expectations for this new album. Along with 2003’s ‘The Work Which Transforms God’; the previous two ‘Memoria Vetusta’ albums are the band’s best work to date.

Blut Aus Nord are at their strongest when delving into one of two musical themes: twisting dissonant black metal and melodic black metal that is broad in scope. ‘Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry’ is a stunning example of the latter. It accomplishes something that so many of the best melodic black metal albums of the 90s accomplished; it gives you an escape into an imagined musical world. Each song is an adventure across vast landscapes; a far-reaching sonic journey with the vocals often acting more as an accent and texture rather than narrator or focal point. That isn’t a slight against the vocals. In fact, they’re often vital to the moments they’re a part of, particularly the clean vocals. Every element of this album works to, and succeeds at; creating something greater than each individual performance, and that goes for the non-musical elements as well.

Artwork is too often marginalised or even neglected by bands when it comes to its role in establishing the tone of an album for the listener. I can only speculate as to the creative process behind the artwork, but Necrolord’s artwork for this album is on par with his best 90s work, without question. It gives visual life to the fantastical ancient world to which the album is the soundtrack. It’s the sort of artwork that immediately communicates that the album is a classic. Certainly, there have been albums with artwork of this caliber but the album doesn’t really live up to the promise of its packaging, but we are truly getting the best of both worlds here. 15 years ago, with music not being so easily accessible, this would have been a blind buy, even if I’d never heard Blut Aus Nord previously.

What of the music, then? It’s pure melodic black metal bliss from top to bottom. There aren’t any weak points and each new listen–and there have been many–yields something new or exciting. It helps immensely that Blut Aus Nord have never sounded this good from a production standpoint; everything sounds powerful with room to breathe. The riffs are an upward spiral, like some wondrous and brilliant tornado building to larger and grander proportions the higher you travel. If you don’t go in for that sort of frivolous word-painting, here’s something we can all go along with: It fucking rules! These songs are crafted with care from people at the height of their abilities. If you’re a beer lover; it’s the one that you only pick up a few times a year because it hits your pocketbook so hard.

It should come as no shock, with all of this in mind, that ‘Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry’ comes with my highest recommendation. It may even be the best album of the year when all is said and done. My gut instinct on the album is that it stands above even the best of a crowded field, but only time can really answer that question.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

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