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Blut Aus Nord - 777 - The Desanctification CD (album) cover


Blut Aus Nord

Experimental/Post Metal

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Conor Fynes
4 stars '777 - The Desanctification' - Blut Aus Nord (8/10)

Back in April of this year, I was wowed by the first in a prospective trilogy of releases by the French dark metal act Blut Aus Nord. '777 - Sect(s)' sought the beginning of a three-album project, each bound together as part of one nightmarish journey. To hear that the band was planning on releasing the entire set of albums within the course of a year was exciting, to say the least. Blut Aus Nord has been prone to releasing their unique blend of avant-garde black metal quite quickly, but what has made them exceptional is that they do this at no sacrifice to the quality and depth of the music. Over the course of many listens, I felt my appreciation for '777 - Sect(s)' expand, and I feel the same is true for the second album in this saga.

'777 - The Desanctification' quite literally picks up where 'Sect(s)' left off. As the songs in the first were labelled 'Epitome' I-VI, this follows suit with 'Epitome' VII-XIII. Stylistically and conceptually, 'Desanctification' gives every impression that it is a continuation of the previous album, not a sequel so much as a direct follow-up to what was released months before. Stylistically, this is very close to what 'Sect(s)' offered as well. The music is a constant balancing act between dissonant, jarring black metal, and lighter, deeply atmospheric passages. Blut Aus Nord has claimed that this album takes the listener 'deeper into the nightmare realm', and to a certain extent, this is true. Although the music isn't all too different, there is a somewhat looser approach to the performance and composition this time around, lending itself more to disturbing atmosphere than the head-scratching black metal that dominated parts of the first album. It seems atmosphere is winning the balancing act, if only a bit. Truth be told, Blut Aus Nord's sound still runs around the map.

While I wouldn't call Blut Aus Nord the most coherent songwriters in the world, they have a real knack for creating incredible moments in their music, and even better transitions to tie them together. Not every idea in 'The Desanctification' works perfectly- sometimes, a part may drag on a few measures too long, or the band will let a section become too chaotic- but they know how to take this palette of ideas and arrange them in such a way that makes everything sound meaningful to an extent. A perfect example of this is the second track 'Epitome VIII', in which the first three minutes meander through an incredibly harsh and dissonant soundscape. It is certainly a challenge for the ears, but would have passed me as being aimless if it weren't for the majestic melodic climax a little after the three minute mark; everything peaks up in unison and intensifies the surreal vibe I get throughout the album.

Performance-wise, there are few bands that use texture and tone so well in the metal world. Guitarist Vindsval has an amazing grasp of some gorgeously dreary guitar tones, and the electronic/industrial aspect of the band never feels weak or gimmicky; it is all mixed together into one darkly ethereal blend. As one might ascertain from a description of the band, the production style is equally as chaotic, throwing multiple layers of ambiance at the listener under the main action. One aspect of the sound that does not always work however are the vocals. They are- for the most part- fairly generic by black metal standards, but the way they echo incessantly makes them more of an ambient garble, neither complimenting nor necessarily hurting the music.

Blut Aus Nord have always been a band that plays on their own terms, and the '777' trilogy has made me more excited about them than ever before. Regarding whether 'The Desanctification' is better than 'Sect(s)' or not: I'm not quite sure. Perhaps 'Sect(s) had a better feeling of organization to it, but 'The Desanctification' has left more of an impression on me. This is atmosphere made deadly. Even sparing the context of the trilogy, 'The Desanctification' is a devastating album, and one of the more disturbing records I've heard in a long time.

Report this review (#568337)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "777 - The Desanctification" is the 10th full-length studio album by French black metal act Blut aus Nord. The album was released through Debemur Morti Productions in November 2011. The band have been quite busy lately as they also released "777 - Sect(s)" in April 2011. "777 - The Desanctification" is the second album in a triology of albums that started with "777 - Sect(s) (2011)" and ended with "777 - Cosmosophy (2012)".

The music on the album is atmospheric and in some cases industrial tinged extreme metal with more than a nod towards post metal. The tracks are repetitive and atmosperic, slow- to mid paced and for the most part dark and ominous. The black metal tag that is usually applied to the bandīs music actually isnīt that useful when describing this album. Itīs mostly the sparse unintelligible raspy vocals that point in that direction and even those are of a more death metal tinged juicy quality. Usual black metal traits like blast beats and fierce tremolo picking are not a part of the sound on "777 - The Desanctification".

The sound production is professional and suits the music really well.

"777 - The Desanctification" is not an album with jaw dropping virtuosic moments or hookladen guitar riffs. Itīs all about dark ambient atmosphere and the band are very successful at creating an interesting listening experience here. a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#701895)
Posted Saturday, March 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Blut Aus Nord essentially eschews melody for atonal barrages of sound. Loaded with industrial black metal demonstrations, the album uses growling in a way that supplements the rhythm, hissing and sneering underneath the barrage of drums and distorted guitars. Despite the aggression, the music overall bores this listener. With a few exceptions, the individual tracks are much too repetitive, as the band lingers with the same set of chords and atmospheres to the point of tedium. That said, Blut Aus Nord has crafted some very interesting rhythms and sonic environments.

"Epitome VII" A steady repetitive rhythm provides the framework for grim vocals. Halfway through, it adopts some mild Eastern influences. The third section takes an interesting twist, adopting a slightly symphonic power metal visage. Finally, the music degenerates into avant-metal mayhem.

"Epitome VIII" Thundering drums and muttering guitars provide a dark current over which floats harsh voices. The distant guitar solo at the midway point reflects post-rock tendencies and is the highlight of the piece.

"Epitome IX" Toning things down a great deal, this third track has mysterious Eastern guitar sounds, like a swamp in the middle of a desert at night.

"Epitome X" Returning to the moderately paced harsh rock, the vocals snarl under layers of steady metal tones. Following an apt guitar solo, the rhythm shifts several times, warping into many different ugly roars of noise.

"Epitome XI" A more plodding piece of music, somewhat haunting with its discomfiting tones and whispers swirling around the low rhythms.

"Epitome XII" Disconcerting ringing opens the penultimate track, ushering thick drums and two guitars, one hammering out low chords and the other weaving through higher-pitched notes like an angry wasp prepared to sting.

"Epitome XIII" Dissonant guitars lead into one final monstrous opus. Exploding chords charge through the entire seven minutes. Halfway through, however, the band does settle into a more melodic passage for a time. Eventually, it whines like a swarm of insects.

Report this review (#760113)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2012 | Review Permalink

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