Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars
Black Metal
9 songs (01:00:02)
Release year: 2009
Blut Aus Nord, Candlelight
Reviewed by Charles
Listening to this record seems like something of a pleasant surprise. The last couple of Blut Aus Nord records reviewed here seem to have gone down like a lead balloon, with their apparent pretentiousness being roundly mocked, and unfavourable comparisons to Axis of Perdition made at every turn. Of course, they may have invited this upon themselves. Having pompously declared in the liner notes to The Work Which Transforms God that “we charge tradition with being an excuse for idleness”, it probably didn’t do them any favours to release pretty much the same record again in less interesting form on both MoRT and Odinist.

Well, maybe they were listening. For a start, look at the cover. Gone are the murkily abstract blacky grey images, replaced by a classic black metal rural landscape. Whilst this record is instantly recognisable as BaN, with that distinctively howling, ghostly guitar tone defining its sound, the band have revived the art of song composition to great effect. In this respect it is something of a return to the days of records such as Memoria Vetusta I, which is hardly surprising, given the title. But given the sense that the band has slipped in recent years for many listeners, it may be unexpected that it works this well. There are melodic turns and offhand riffs here that take you unawares, and really work powerfully. Proper opener, Disciple’s Libration, goes through lengthy passages of gentle, plaintive tunefulness that could fit nicely onto a record like Drudkh’s Autumn Aurora. Quieter melodic passages are in fact common throughout the record, generating more light and shade than I’ve ever heard from this band before.

At times the riffs do sound directionless, but then in certain circumstances this can be part of the charm, and hardly out of the ordinary for this band at least. There needs to be focal points around which ideas converge, so that your ears are not searching in vain for meaning. In The Cosmic Echoes of Non-Matter, for example, we are confronted with a morass of wandering guitar lines which sound dangerously like they are dissipating into nothingness, but which are held together by periodic turns into recognisable ideas, including strange “middle-eastern” tonalities reminiscent of Melechesh and even a rare guitar solo. There’s a few of these throughout, which are hardly virtuosic, but are by contrast atmospheric and generally effective. Antithesis of the Flesh comes close to sounding proggy at times, further demonstrating the impressive flow of new ideas that seem to have been injected back into the band. The influence of folk metal is felt here too; not the cheesy singalong variety, but the dark acoustic guitar lines of a record such as Kveldssanger, which is flirted with at points during The Meditant, for example.

This record will probably come as a pleasant surprise to most of those who have been following Blut Aus Nord for the last few years. It’s got a lot of depth to it, it looks for new ideas, and it has the capacity to actually sound like emotional music, rather than just being a bit spooky in the background. I’m now interested to hear what their next album will sound like, which is something I couldn’t say just before putting this on for the first time.

Killing Songs :
Disciple's Libration, The Meditant
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Blut Aus Nord that we have reviewed:
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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
To see all 8 reviews click here
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