Blut Aus Nord - Odinist: The Destruction of Reason by Illumination
Industrial Post-Black
9 songs (36:58)
Release year: 2007
Blut Aus Nord, Candlelight
Reviewed by Goat
Crap of the month

Of all the Metal in all the world, from Pornogrind to Prog-Power, there is none that divides opinion quite like Blut Aus Nord. Either you love the band’s brand of atmospheric meanderings, or you hate it. For every one of you out there enthusiastically extolling its virtues and declaring it the future of Black Metal, there’s another who reacts like a Christian fundamentalist at a gay parade. 2003’s The Work Which Transforms God was the band’s biggest moment, mixing traditional Black Metal and weird Industrial Noise to create a rather spooky masterpiece. Realising that they were onto a good thing with the atmospheric direction of their work, the mysterious Frenchmen produced an EP of pure Industrial music, being very careful not to overload the public with too much at once. Perhaps the most audacious move was 2006’s MoRT, an album which took the spooky Industrial bits of The Work… and ran with them, creating a single piece of music divided into eight ‘chapters’. Naturally, some hailed it as genius and some derided it as rubbish.

However, what people fail to understand about bands of this ilk, and what my colleague Alex put his finger on exactly with his review of MoRT was that it’s all a sham. Even moreso than regular Black Metal, Blut Aus Nord relies on image to give an aura of mystery. Visit the band’s highly annoying website, even look at a picture of the members, and you’ll be none the wiser as to motivation, ideology, heck, even if they drink beer or watch porn. Why the secrecy? Simply because it’s all that there is to the band. Without the image, what you have is three men and a drum machine, just like, say The Prodigy. Once you’ve burst the bubble, what remains has to be capable of standing on its own two feet, and if it can’t, then there are problems.

As if that wasn’t enough, Blut Aus Nord is already outclassed by another band, one perfectly happy to be shown in promo photos as real people without the music suffering for it. Taking as much influence from unkvlt sources as The Matrix and Silent Hill as the more esoteric philosophies of Blut, this other band is, of course, The Axis Of Perdition, and is so, so much better at the spooky Industrial Post-Black genus that Blut Aus Nord is seriously starting to look redundant. It’s a fair bet that those who disagree with this review are those who have not yet been exposed to the Londoners’ unholy racket, and if you haven’t yet heard anything from them you should stop reading this moment and go and listen. You’ll never look at Blut Aus Nord the same way again.

All in all, things aren’t looking too bright for Odinist, the latest output from Blut Aus Nord. Being fair to MoRT, if you could get past the initial massive boredom and immerse yourself in its world, then it was rewarding – the riffs were strange and oddly disturbing, the beats random and freaky, the vocals mysterious, the whole package forming an ambient journey into a place most of us are glad that we don’t live – it’s far from the genius some call it, however. Once you’ve gotten over how dull and plain inoffensive Odinist is (call me an elitist, but I believe music works best when it draws the listener in and actually forces a reaction from them) and make yourself really listen to get the most you possibly can from it, there’s a minute or so of ambient, ominous Noise before – goodness me, strange riffs, random, freaky beats and mysterious vocals! Surely, you tell yourself, the next track will do something different, there’ll be some progression…

…And you know what? There isn’t. The Sounds Of The Universe comes and goes, A Few Shreds Of Thought slips by and there’s no difference. There’s even the same train-putting-its-brakes-on-effect as MoRT. In the end, you’re so desperate to find some evidence that this album isn’t exactly the same as the last that you’ll grasp at any straw, however weak. Ooh, the title track sounds a little bit different at the start and has slightly catchier riffs! The Cycle Of The Cycles is a bit faster-paced! No, the sad truth is that this band has the formula down so pat, so smooth, that it could probably fill its next ten releases with material just like this. Oh, no doubt there’d be a tweak here and there (the production on Odinist is cleaner than MoRT, for instance) perhaps some female screaming on a song somewhere or maybe even a ‘controversial’, more danceable take at the formula. When it comes down to it, however, Blut Aus Nord is stuck in a rut, and the band knows it – why else make this album over ten minutes shorter than its predecessor?

If you’ve been following the band so far, then you’ll be disappointed. Certainly, Odinist is listenable – the band is skilled at what it does, and if you’ve listened to MoRT so many times that you know it backwards then knock yourself out with this, by all means. However, if you have any sense of proportion, if you’re in this mighty Metallic journey for yourself, if you’re not prepared to blindly swallow what other people tell you is art, then stay far, far away from Odinist. And so, as the less cynical ‘zines give rave reviews and as Blut Aus Nord start to be mentioned in the same artsy publications that embrace Sunn O))) and Xasthur, the band’s star will inevitably rise higher and higher. Just don’t expect everyone to be taken in by the hype. A real disappointment.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 25 / 100
Other albums by Blut Aus Nord that we have reviewed:
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - 777 - The Desanctification reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - 777 Sect(s) reviewed by Tony and quoted 76 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God reviewed by Tony and quoted 86 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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