There are some unions that, where you hear of them, you nod and confirm that said bond makes total and complete sense. So when my inbox was infiltrated by a new split release pitting Blut Aus Nord with Ævangelist, it didn’t really shock me. That’s a release that’s just too much logical.
For Blut Aus Nord, we’ve long been enchanted by their strange form of black metal, one that has twisted and turned over the years, taken on surprising new elements, and really hasn’t bowed to anyone’s wishes. The band, led by the unstoppable Vidsval (guitars, vocals) and rounded out by keyboardist/electronics wizard W.D. Feld, bassist GhOst, and drummer Thorns, has whipped out 11 full-lengths since their formation in 1994, their most recent being 2014’s excellent “Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry.” Their four tracks on this split release “Codex Obscura Nomina” shift even further away from pure black metal and into industrial, trip-hop elements that have been woven through their work over the years. Their cuts here are strange, nightmarish, and intoxicating, a definite foray away from the band’s center (which, granted, is way different than most). That makes these songs really exciting and something that might indicate even more experimentation in the future.
“Evanescent Hallucinations” begins with strange industrial sounds before opening up in the mouth of a storm. Thick keys make the song sound like a dark carnival, with really weird, nightmarish melodies laced into the track. Buried growls rumble, with the back end of the track bubbling up as a monstrous sprawl. “Resonnance(s)” makes it feel like the room is spinning, with slurry, odd, dreamlike imagery taking hold. The growls dissolve, while chants rise up, a clean, deranged wails explode behind the din, and everything fades into a sound cloud. “The Parallel Echoes” has static beats and off-kilter playing, with gurgly growls sounding like a demonic strangulation, before they hit a humid simmer. Mesmerizing guitars float, as the weird riffs levitate in mid-air, and the sound reverberates inside your chest. “Infra-Voices Ensemble” is their final deed, bleeding in from the darkness and heading into aggressive programmed beats. Harsh growls slice their way in, as the tempo reaches its dark arms across you and embraces with force. The track punches and pelts, with the beats maintaining their intensity and then subsiding in a cloud of noise. Really interesting stuff from one of the world’s most inventive bands.
As for Ævangelist, they, too, walk their own path, which is fucked up with tons of dissonance and jarring noise that go against every fiber of metal’s grain. They have been quite prolific as of late, with three full-length efforts that past three years (last year’s “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” is their most recent and first for 20 Buck Spin), as well as a couple of EPs. On this split, the band—Matron Thorn (guitars, vocals, bass, noise) and Ascaris (vocals, saxophone, cello)—commit their longest song to date, a 21:33 opus that takes up their entire side of the effort, and one awash in great terror. As usual, their music isn’t easy to approach, especially if you’re not familiar with their style. But if you participate fully and let the music wash over you, it’s easy to fall prey to their punishing hypnosis, which could leave you lost, disoriented, and oddly speaking in strange tongues.
“Threshold of the Miraculous” has a numbing start, with drums and beats rattling, then growls beginning to make their way across. Weird melodies swirl into a sound vortex, and then things really get started, with gurgles bubbling up, menacing messages being delivered, and then a stretch of uneasy quiet. That’s torn apart by slicing riffs that sound almost conventional (at least in an Ævangelist world), before the first stretch of speaking arrives, switching back and forth between tongues, and sounding like a sermon for the end of days. That melts into death and an array of dizzying sounds, with the monologue returning and then dissolving into a stretch of lurching growls and a melody burst that spins out of control. “Bow down and pray!” is bellowed over and over, way more a threat than an invitation, while the last few minutes bend into feral ugliness and go out in death fumes. This is one of Ævangelist’s more daring pieces yet, one that holds its own quite well with their split mates.
As much as I enjoy split releases that feature bands coming at things from completely different angles, it’s also great to hear one where both groups are operating within the same sphere, albeit with different agendas. Blut Aus Nord and Ævangelist are two of metal’s most daring and interesting bands, and you never can guess with total certainly where either will gravitate next. To have both locked into the same creative space is an enthralling thing, one that will reprogram your brain and how you process art.
For more on Blut Aus Nord, go here: https://www.facebook.com/blutausnord.official
For more on Ævangelist, go here: https://www.facebook.com/aevangelist .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/