Sunday, 22 December 2019

Blut Aus Nord "Hallucinogen" (2019)

 French musicians Blut Aus Nord feel like a cryptic force you can rely upon to deliver esoteric Black Metal that allures and engulfs with its majesty. Thirteen or so albums deep into their artistic output, the group continue to forge intelligent music that is testament to their experience and yet still steeped in inspiration. Their Avant-Garde nature means each project spins a different wheel, their last effort Deus Salutis Meæ a maddening dive into Industrial and Noise. This time around the word traditional still can not be applied but their are echos of modern experimentation reminiscent of Batushka, Mare Cognitum, Chaos Moon and Oranssi Pazuzu.

A bleak smothering of dissonance collides with esoteric gleams of color as the rhythm and lead guitar duel in tandem. Alongside the rumbling rattle of vibrating blast beats they birth abstruse vibrato melodies flickering out from the churning wheel of thick distortion rhythm picking. The guitar work often alternates between conventional chugging metallic riffs and bursts of wavy chord dissonance. Its spellbinding, a roaring sound that moves like an amorphic abyssal movement often falling in to shape and form between stretches of spurious madness. Its lead guitar may even sound conventional or classic in phrases but its mastery of mixing and delivery yields it to this mysterious vision.

The vocals are a treat, on two fronts the same principal is applied. Its meaner shouts and gutteral cries bleed from the depths of a crowded mix, never encroaching the foreground. They arrive like a surge of energy from deep within, just adding layers to the hypnotic sound at work. Its counterpart can often be heard alternating. Also buried behind the guitars, spiritual choirs of monk like male voices call like spirits from beyond, sometimes so subtle they sound like a layer of keys added for atmosphere. Its arcane in nature, melodically savage and a touch psychedelic in places.

The band have forged another fine record, a solid seven tracks serving a sensational slice of something specific that's subtly sinister. Its cohesive and well crafted as the songs plunges you into its designed chaos. The musicians place careful moments of respite with acoustic guitars ridden in oozy reverb effects to guide you through its machinations of fiery madness and arcane wonder. It hits this note from the get go and every listen since has me concluding this is a fantastic record you can come to over and over again for its particular flavor of esoteric darkness.

Rating: 7/10
Favorite Track: Anthosmos