Blut Aus Nord | ‘Memoria Vetusta II’
Blut Aus Nord’s class is without doubt.
Their three key releases – ‘The Work Which Transforms God’, ‘Odinist’ and ‘MoRT’ – are essential to an appreciation of black metal in the modern era. For a band not graced with historical ties to the genre, they’ve nonetheless placed themselves at its bleeding edge.
With their poisonous atmospheres and benighted sound they’ve contributed much to black metal’s continuing development, taking over from the creatively exhausted Norse workhorses and offering a real, viable alternative expression of how genuine darkness can make its way through metal.
‘Memoria Vetusta II’ is their best yet -and easily so. They have stepped everything up, channelling their creativity, musical insight and no mean amount of witchery into songs that are both haunting and frigid cold. The amount of new tones contained in here – all of which appropriate and evocative – is wonderful to listen to. They embellish brilliantly the drowned and drowning sounds that made the band’s reputation.
It used to be easy to draw parallels between Blut Aus Nord and Xasthur, so similar were the paths trodden. But they have done what Xasthur ultimately couldn’t, and that is to grow. The Frenchmen have crafted an album here that sounds as good as the best of old times. Dark mediaeval times, make no mistake – the dank, lichen covered feel of this album recalls only the very best old Summoning, Abigor, even Emperor’s now seemingly ancient masterpiece. The lineage runs straight through. Mix this with Drudkh, old Agalloch, Xasthur and Negura Bunget and you have a record of some considerable rarity. It is the sound of that frightening, forested nightmare place that the albums of old used to bring us. To go there again is a special thing indeed, and this album is a timely revisit.
Blut Aus Nord have crafted here an album that is spellbinding from its opening to its closing notes. It is both an essential and immediate purchase. So good that it almost makes keyboard swathed BM sound relevant, indeed exciting again, you’ll find yourself taken utterly away with it. It has the class, the grandeur, the magic and the misanthropy needed to make genuine black metal art. It harkens to the very best Norway ever produced while sounding distinctly of its own making, and frankly, if you’re unmoved by this, you’re a cynic beyond help.
5/5 – Earl Grey ::: 22/02/09