Blut Aus Nord – “Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars”

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Witness the majestic return of one of the vanguards of the French Black Metal revolution. Nominally a sequel to their 1996 epic, this is not so much a back-to-your-roots album as it is the marriage of their original style with recent experimental offerings. Blut Aus Nord have birthed a worthy successor to both Memoria Vetusta I and the pioneering Work Which Transforms God of 2003. When so many bands don crowns of decaying laurels, Vindsval’s triumvirate remains ever the masters of their craft.

The first song “Antithesis of the Flesh” storms through your headphones in a transcendent synthesis of old and new. Copious melodies weave through atmospheric keyboards and monastic chants. Meanwhile inhuman blasts and industrial drumbeats propel the listener into galactic soundscapes. Scenes of terror and mystique give way to regal fanfare. Incorporating elements from Ultima Thulée through Odinist, rarely is an album so diverse yet euphoniously consistent.

For a genre immersed in darkness and misanthropy, dare I say this composition is colorful and enlivening? The artwork alone paints an organic yet otherworldly exhibition. Musically, it contrasts emotive melodies with the mathematical rhythms of the drum computer; futuristic yet as ancient as the human condition itself. Lyrics are absent, offering freer interpretation and drawing the listener closer to the music’s own eloquence.

This is as far removed from standard Black Metal as Oslo from Paris. Buzz saw guitar riffing underlies clean and acoustic guitar harmonies and solos, shimmering with progressive highlights. Contemplative ambience interplays with headbangable riffs. Screeching vocals blend into a musical fabric drenched in beautiful pain. All sense of traditional song structure is discarded for an intelligently structured opus worth several listens just to comprehend its magnificence.

Black Metal stalwarts may find discomfort in the cleaner production and experimental elements. As for the unenlightened, this is the perfect gateway to Metal in its true grandeur. Leave your pop culture stereotypes at the dock and dive in. Let this album drown you in an ocean of sound, for both meditation and catharsis. It’s far too early for an “album of the year” declaration, but if anything will contend with this, 2009 should be a glorious year for Metal.   

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One Response to “Blut Aus Nord – “Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars””

  1. This record is amazing. Cheers from a fellow Mainiac!

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