Blut Aus Nord

Memoria Vetusta III- Saturnian Poetry

Written by: EW on 16/11/2014 17:56:09

After the trilogy of 777 albums released in 2011 and 2012 by the highly respected French Blut Aus Nord it has taken two subsequent years and two EPs in the meantime before they return us, again, to familiar territory, that of the "Memoria Vetusta" name and sound. This grouping of albums includes my favourite release from their 10-album back catalogue, namely 2009’s "Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars" and witnesses the band harken back to the vast, symphonic black sound of their formative-middle years, having taken a considerable step back from the urban, industrial bleakness of the 777 trilogy, a sound which never sat so comfortably with my own personal black metal orientated tastes. Not to say those albums lacked any of the darkness nor mystery of classic BAN, but it is nonetheless pleasing to return to a sound which recalls lauded past works and imagery, right from the epic Kristian ‘Necrolord’ Wåhlin cover art. One of Wahlin’s most celebrated past works is, of course, Emperor’s legendary "In the Nightside Eclipse”, an album which sits early in the lineage which leads through to "Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry" today.

After the gentle opening provided by the short instrumental "Prelude" we are taken straight into the fire with scaling riffs harking for untold constellations ably backed by a keys performance which articulates a sense of scale and wonder far more convincingly than keys are more usually deployed within black metal. Following the early onset of a chorus of clean, chant-like vocals which stand out significantly more in the mix than the clouded blackened drawl, the first thoughts of Emperor and fellow Frenchmen Deathspell Omega arise, signifying how truly Blut Aus Nord warrant the description of ‘epic’. Like lying on one’s back staring at a cloudless night sky and being transported to distant plains far from earthly matters in "Tellus Mater", the duo of Vindsval (guitars, bass, keys, vocals) and Thorns (drums) utilise their talents in means such that they sound less like players of their instrumentals than mere passengers on an interstellar journey. Conversely, this prescription to high-speed broad strokes across diverse plains does transform much of "Memoria Vetusta III" into a single whole, with differentiation between riffs within each song and across the six tracks proper often difficult to discern. Those riffs that do make that mark as anything more advanced than the default BAN tremolo-induced style do however tend to stand out: the opening of, and the lead choral riffs in "Metaphor of the Moon" and one latterly in "Forhist" which is formulated into a self-enclosing loop of surreal potency are great in anyone’s book.

That similarity in speed and timbre does ultimately damage my grading of the record. When closing track "Clarissima Mundie Lumina" rolls round with a punchy fluid introductory riff, albeit in the same redolent style, the recollection of any notable breaks in tempo in the previous 40 minutes are few in number. It is that track which itself offers the most notable refrain in it’s middle section as Thorn’s highly strung performance is levelled into a more inviting tempo underneath Vindsval’s layered lead riffing for a period of three minutes before a hearty shriek from the heavens restores the past snare-pounding pace. These observations are however part of the nihilistic anti-image that are part of the Blut Aus Nord package - a planetary journey from the depths of the underground through astral planes, coveting the proud and the vast plains of black metal’s history.

Download: Metaphor of the Moon, Tellus Mater
For The Fans Of: Deathspell Omega, Emperor, Limbonic Art
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.10.2014
Debemur Morti Productions

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