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Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars CD (album) cover


Blut Aus Nord


Experimental/Post Metal

3.31 | 20 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars' - Blut aus Nord (97/100)

The Memoria Vetusta series had made itself out to be a refuge for melody in a career otherwise defined by a calculated ugliness. More often than not, Blut aus Nord has been driven by a cold industrial atmosphere and swirling dissonance. The Work Which Transforms God and MoRT are two of the most jarring albums I've ever heard from any genre. When Blut aus Nord decides to get dark, it is the stuff of nightmares unlike anything else I've heard. Vindsval had already demonstrated his tact with melodic writing on the first pair of albums. Nonetheless, the subsequent extremity that characterized Blut aus Nord made the partial return to melody on MVII: Dialogue with the Stars a total revelation.

It is difficult to write or think about Dialogue with the Stars without feeling total awe for what BaN accomplished here. I'm not even sure I could call it my favourite album of theirs-- that standing's always gone to TWWTG. Surprisingly however, it's this one that's rewarded repeated listening the most. Although the tragic melodies, clearcut riffs and tactful soloing of Fathers of the Icy Age returned on Dialogue with the Stars, it didn't come at any cost to the band's trademark weirdness. The album's first riff, opening up "Disciple's Libration", is a perfect example of this contrast. It's still technically dissonant by most every standard, but unlike the indecipherable murk of other albums, Vindsval channels it in such a way that it's instantly memorable from the first listen onward.

The greatest irony is that Dialogue with the Stars has been Blut aus Nord's biggest "grower" album from my experience of it. Even if there are plenty of earworms and distinct ideas, the song structures have been drawn out accordingly. Despite how ugly it was on the outside, I think there was a certain comfort in knowing an album like MoRT was essentially rhapsodic and meandering; you could sink into the atmosphere without feeling a need to decipher anything. The opposite rings true here. Vindsval carries these massive tracks along with the vision of a progressive rock master. Even if the album's shorter interludes feel a bit superfluous in light of its centrepieces, it doesn't feel like a single moment of the album has been spent frivolously. Blut aus Nord's masterful atmosphere has always been completely unique to my ears. The only thing that ever potentially held me at bay was the fact that there was nothing to grip one's ears upon. Dialogue with the Stars accomplishes that end even better than what I've come to expect from one of my all-time favourite acts.

Some of the most gorgeous exercises in melodic writing I've ever heard in black metal are featured here. "Disciple's Libration" is chock-full of them. "...the Meditant" and especially "Antithesis of the Flesh" make Vindsval out to be just as much a genius in this style as he is with the abrasive industrial stuff. It's kind of mind-blowing to think a trait they're so potentially great with is purposefully underused elsewhere. I think there's a lot of merit in giving each album its own niche. After having listened to their discography obsessively these last couple of weeks, I'm becoming convinced that Blut aus Nord are one of the few black metal bands out there that have written music to suit any mood. Unlike its weaker successor Saturnian Poetry, Dialogue with the Stars does different things without alienating the project's weird foundations.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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