Blut Aus Nord have been on one of the most impressive creative cycles of any band in recent memory. Great ideas and magical blackness appear to be pouring out of their headspace in France, and the results have been several years of some of metal’s most impressive, thought-provoking recordings. Right now, they seem unstoppable.
Ever since 2011 and the start of the “777” trilogy, the band has given us four full-length records, three EPs, and a split recording with P.H.O.B.O.S., all of which are quality. The latest of that run comes in the form of “Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry,” which follows up their last first full record, 2012’s bizarre and daring conclusion to the “777” piece, “Cosmosophy.” “Vetusta I” was their second record, released in 1996, while “Vetusta II” followed in 2009.” If you were getting a little impatient with the band’s experimentation and trips into dreamier, spacier territory, “Saturnian” is a return to form of sorts, with the band sounding heavy, channeled, and scary at times. But if you were turned off by the band stretching itself creatively, what exactly was your issue? Those “777” albums, the finale in particular, were wondrous works, some of the finest, most varied work in the metal landscape the past decade, and they proved just how willing Blut Aus Nord are willing to push the limits to deliver their message and perform their cosmic exploration. But if heavy is what you require, consider yourself served until you burst with the new one, the band’s 11th.
If you were a fan of these guys throwing caution to the poisonous win, don’t be worried. While the band moves back to center (granted, their own version of that point), they remain as imaginative, creative, and mind-blowing as ever. “Saturnian Poetry” is a fascinating listen from front to back, and it’s one you might find yourself lost inside of again and again as you research every crevice. And why not? Band mastermind Vindsval (guitars, vocals, bass, keys, concepts) remains one of metal’s most elusive, compelling, and engaging personalities, and his partner Thorns (drums) helps paint a horrific, but also dreamy picture that is the perfect backdrop for this band’s mission. Simply, this is one of, if not the finest, black metal band anywhere in the world, and they sound nowhere near climbing down from that throne.
Breaking this record down track by track is more difficult than usual, mainly because the seven tracks almost act as one opus broken up into separate movements. That starts with simply titled “Prelude,” a murky, foggy piece that sets the mood for what comes next. “Paien” is the first full cut, blasting open with strong, mesmerizing melodies that encircle you, and monstrous, creaking growling that fees like they’re being delivered by a ghoul in the night. Clean calling comes in, as it does on most of these cuts, giving the singing multiple personalities, and the song keeps twisting and turning until its wintry finish complete with wafting synth and spacious imagination. “Tellus Mater” has piercing guitar lines, gurgly growls that sound like they’re bubbling from tar, and penetrating melodies that get inside of you. The track is equally dream-inducing and sinister, with a compelling finish that should have your head spinning. “Forhist,” an 8:56 cruncher, comes on as more aggressive at the start, upping the ante on heaviness. The playing bends and twists in ways you won’t expect, while the underlying menace swims along the surface, always warning it could snatch you underneath at any moment. The singing feels alien, the song has a renewed sense of punishment in its back end, and the finish is devastating.
“Henosis” has a spindly beginning, with the guitars creating a vortex effect, abrasive growls leading the way, and surging singing eventually taking over the messaging. The track is complicated and cataclysmic, with the song building layer upon layer and new elements slipping in and taking over the wheel. The whole thing ends on a sharp, blinding note. “Metaphor of the Moon” goes 8:12 and is tornadic right off the bat. The growling is ferocious, with the music cascading dramatically, and the whole thing has a mystical feel, like you’re coming upon a ritual in the deep, misty woods. The 8:27 closer “Clarissima Mundi Lumina” is a fitting final salvo, with off-kilter melodies toppling your balance, and forceful growls erupting and trudging over everything. The clean singing is as soulful as it is anywhere else on the record, which might be a strange way to describe that element, but I think it fits. The textured, tortured playing rises and falls throughout the song, the drumming begins to hammer harder than before, and everything bursts into a deep, high ember before fading out, leaving only a cloud of ominous smoke behind.
How long Blut Aus Nord can keep up this incredible streak of creativity is anyone’s guess, but it sure doesn’t seem like they’re running out of steam. “Saturnian Poetry” is another dose of black metal greatness so far and away from what so many other bands are doing, it’s like they’re not even creating the same style of art. Blut Aus Nord’s goes far and away from this planet into other galaxies not yet broached by mankind. They are the leaders, and though many may get behind them to follow their path, no one can equal their majesty.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/blutausnord.official
To buy the album, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/12-eshop
For more on the label, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/