Tuesday 17 October 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Blut Aus Nord - "Deus Salutis Meae"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/10/ 2017
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

what is truly most evident is an extreme music group that will not be bound to definitions, or at least is willing to experiment to ascend beyond what we think we know of a genre.

"Deus Salutis Meae" CD//DD//LP track listing

1. δημιουργός
2. Chorea Macchabeorum
3. Impius
4. γνσις
5. Apostasis
6. Abisme
7. Revelatio
8. συχασμός
9. Ex tenebrae lucis
10. Métanoïa

The Review:

Black metal features a handful of longtime performers in its midst. Among them is France's Blut Aus Nord. Since 1995's "Ultima Thulee," the now-quartet have grown from a vehicle for vocalist Vindsval, who began the project as Vlad in 1993, into a fully realized band crafting some of the already adventurous black metal scene's more daring music.

Most notably, Blut Aus Nord's777” trilogy of records, comprised primarily of works led solely by Vindsval, and its “Memoria Vetusta” trio of recordings wedged in between them, put forward the pensive detail for which the act is best known. Though its discography is a thread that carries on the tradition of first-wave black metal buried within its performances, the band is almost as a rule devoted to obliterating what you think of the subgenre. Its music is hard to categorize and virtually changes with every release. Sometimes loud and caustic, songs are equally at turns sweeping and cinematic. Consider its interlocking tracks from the 2016 split "Codex Obscura Nomina," where classical influences, which have frequently appeared in Blut Aus Nord's music, led the way through its four selections. If you are new to the group, this is music you are undoubtedly going to be pushed by, because this is a band that refuses to let you get comfortable, and instead keeps you focused on how songs, and in fact the arc of its performance progress.

As with anything Blut Aus Nord, you can't talk about "Deus Salutis Meae" on a track-by-track basis. Instead, you have to approach it as a complete work. As such, the French group's upcoming album is both a departure from its split with Ævangelist and "Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry," its 2014 recording. That last full length saw Blut Aus Nord return to its roots – terse guitars, rangy bass and one of the best vocal efforts by Vindsval to date. Heavy in delivery while nimble in how it was performed, this particular effort was certainly hard, yet stayed beguiling in its tonality. Like previous albums, the listener was treated to a fresh experience that made it altogether creative. "Codex Obscura Nomina" was a complicated affair that divorced the old sound in favor of multi-layered effects, synthesizer and a moody, swirling mash. Brilliant on its own, this release's outcome took some by surprise. However, with "Deus Salutis Meae," you hear Blut Aus Nord constructing onto the foundations it made on the split the echoes of the classic black metal of "Memoria Vetusta III," into something that sounds futuristic and forward.

Take a song like "Impius" or even "Chorea Macchabeorum" where both, at first listen, sound like particularly good black metal, as can be said for "Apostasis," which was released as a preview track. On a second, third and fourth listen, it is apparent how breathtaking Blut Aus Nord's musicianship truly is. Its masterful percussion, pulsing bass, keys that add texture and vocals that set a mood, but never dominate the arrangement, are among the most stunning for black metal this year. Blut Aus Nord have always been masters of ambience, and the new album is no exception. The group creates a despairing atmosphere, divergent from the black metal methods of its past endeavors yet somehow not far out of that territory. It's already been said by critics that Blut Aus Nord may be veering more into a death metal or funeral doom direction here. You can hear that at turns, but what is truly most evident is an extreme music group that will not be bound to definitions, or at least is willing to experiment to ascend beyond what we think we know of a genre.

The existential joy for listeners, though, will be exploring the songs and concepts. For all its volume and flame, Blut Aus Nord has always been at its very heart an intellectual band. Its songs have always explored faith, humanity and the many shades of darkness therein. "Deus Salutis Meae," the album's title, roughly translates to "the god of my salvation." Let that sit with you as you take what is an accomplished recording, if ever there was one.

"Deus Salutis Meae" is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook