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ULTIMA THULÉE

Blut Aus Nord

Experimental/Post Metal


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Blut Aus Nord Ultima Thulée album cover
3.09 | 13 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. The Son of Hoarfrost (6:02)
2. The Plain of Ida (8:54)
3. From Hlidskjalf (7:44)
4. My Prayer Beyond Ginnungagap (5:12)
5. Till' I Perceive Bifrost (7:07)
6. On The Way to Vigrid (5:57)
7. Rigsthula (3:59)
8. The Last Journey of Ringhorn (7:36)

Total Time 52:31

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Vindsval / all vocals and instruments

Releases information

Released on the 15th of January 1995 by Impure Creations Records
Recorded and mixed by Vindsval in 1995 A.Y.P.S.
Cover illustration by Max Gherrack.
Logo by Christophe Szpajdel.
Re-issued in 2005 by Candelight Records with a different artwork.

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
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BLUT AUS NORD Ultima Thulée ratings distribution


3.09
(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
31%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (23%)
23%
Poor. Only for completionists (15%)
15%

BLUT AUS NORD Ultima Thulée reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Ultima Thulée" is the debut full-length studio album by French black metal act Blut aus Nord. The album was released through Impure Creations Records in January 1995. The original release was limited to 1000 copies. The album was reissued in 2005 by Candlelight Records and made more readily available. Blut aus Nord was initially a one-man act consisting of Vindsval who handled all vocals and instruments, but on "Ultima Thulée" he is helped out by W.D. Feld on drums and keyboards, and Ogat who is credited for playing session bass.

The music on "Ultima Thulée" is atmospheric black metal. The vocals are raw/raspy and kind of screaming in a way that I usually associate with suicide black metal acts. The music features atmospheric keyboards in addition to the usual rock/metal instruments in guitars, bass and drums. The keyboards don´t add neither a symphonic nor an especially melodic element to the music though. They are primarily there to create a cold and dark atmosphere. There are a couple of alternative tracks on the album which include an atmospheric keyboard solo piece and a choir piece but most of the tracks are just well composed atmospheric black metal.

The sound production is raw and primitive. Not far from sounding like a demo, but it´s one of those cases where the muddy sound suits the music well and provides it with that last rawness and authenticity. The production and the music simply make each other better and "Ultima Thulée" is ultimately a quality atmospheric black metal release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE Team
3 stars The French black metal band BLUT AUS NORD has always pretty much been the project of Vindsval which began all the way back in 1994 with a couple demos under the Vlad moniker being released, but soon after the name of the project was changed to the grammatically incorrect German phrase meaning "Blood From North." On this debut album Vindsval handles all vocal and guitar duties but he also employs the percussive and keyboard skills of W.D. Feld, so this debut is more or less a duo rather than a solo project. ULTIMA THULÉE (a term that denotes any place beyond the known borders of the world in medieval geography) finds Vindsval and Feld riding the second wave of Norwegian black metal like a gazillion other bands of the era. Before BLUT AUS NORD cemented itself as more of a real band project and before the extremely avant-garde jangly and nightmarish atmospheric dissonance that the band would become famous for, we get a couple of more or less standard second wave black metal releases.

This debut sounds to me a lot like early Enslaved meets Darkthrone with the aggressive guitar delivery complete with blastbeats, gnarly tortured shrieks and muddy lo-fi production with only meagre progressive leanings. The band's knack for atmospheric embellishments also begins here and includes lots of scary keyboards however on this one they haven't quite found their unique niche and sound a lot like early Burzum especially from the "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" and "Filosofem" era. The album flows fairly well throughout its entirety and despite not dripping in originality is quite competently performed and a decent listen that i personally find appealing. Of course, this album gets overlooked for the very reason of not holding a candle to the more sophisticated developments which begin on "The Mystical Best Of Rebellion" but ULTIMA THULÉE is a solid black metal release that lovers of atmospheric black metal with heavy doses of dark ambient and dungeon synth should check out and is an interesting chapter of this unique band's musical history. 3.5 rounded down

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Ultima Thulee' - Blut aus Nord (83/100)

If I ever feel I need to put my ego in check, I remind myself that Vindsval wrote and recorded Ultima Thulée when he was fifteen years old. Sure, you don't need to look far to find black metal musicians who got their start when they were incredibly young, but a lot of the young teens mucked about with raw demos, putting out better-developed material once they were older. Vindsval had his rough demo period in his time working under the name Vlad in the years leading up to Ultima Thulée, but by the time of a full-length it's clear he already knew exactly what to do and how to do it.

Ultima Thulée is a painfully underrated and overlooked piece of work. Released in 1995, a year where the Second Wave was finally beginning to die down, Ultima Thulée is a burst of fresh air. Blut aus Nord would evolve into one of black metal's strangest entities in the years following, but even starting out there was already a weird Otherness to the atmosphere. First impressions had me thinking of it as a crunchier-sounding Burzum. Indeed, the fantastical, wintery atmosphere is here (albeit with far chuggier tones than master Varg is wont to use) but Ultima Thulée hints at the band's avant-garde destiny more than most of their fans lead on. Listen to the way "The Son of Hoarfrost" opens up the album with horror film piano before bursting into thick guitars, eerie synths, chattering drums and murky screams. They're not a great deal weirder than early Emperor here, but a lot of their defining traits were onboard from the very start.

That's not to say that Ultima Thulée should be seen as a step to something greater. My appreciation for many debuts often takes the form of admiring how a band go to a certain point, but I won't hesitate in saying Blut aus Nord's genius was already just about in full swing with this one; it just takes a different shape than what most listeners are used to hearing from them. The thick atmosphere is best expressed on "The Plain of Ida", where Vindsval builds amazing riffs beginning under a droning dungeon synth line that would make Burzum weep. Where the song might naturally stop some minutes in, Vindsval tacks on a spacey build that almost nearly recalls Voivod. Although the song titles might make Ultima Thulée out to be a more traditional black metal record, there are all sorts of oddities found in the music. For another example, the plodding riffs on "The Last Journey of Ringhorn" sounds like a death-doom interpretation of what life would be like on an asteroid mining colony. It's strange to hear such a strong sci-fi flavour on an album that's supposedly about Norse mythology. I'm not surprised Blut aus Nord ultimately changed their tune in that regard.

Ultima Thulée is consistently engaging and surprisingly varied in its efforts. I'm not surprised that Blut aus Nord could excel in more "traditional" territory (relatively speaking, at least) but it is incredible that they had their craft nailed from such an early stage. Excellence in youth can sometimes be attributed to luck and simple intuition, but I don't think that was the case for Vindsval. There was real vision behind this album. If you're having any trouble finding it, keep an ear out for the way Ultima Thulée is structured. Like a lot of the best black metal albums from that era, the album can take you on a journey if you let it. Ambient threads like "My Prayer Beyond Ginnungagap" are allowed to take full blossom in the middle of the album. The end result may still be shy of the groundshaking perfection achieved on later albums like The Work Which Transforms God, but Blut aus Nord were out to break rules from the very beginning.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Black metal from France. This is the debut album from Blut Aus Nord. The music is very similar to Burzum. It is more or less a Burzum copycat. The sound is pretty bad and "necro" as the black metal scene with affection call this type of sound. This type of black metal still have a large follow ... (read more)

Report this review (#242290) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, October 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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