Review Summary: When you add together seven tracks that don't go anywhere it equals one album that ends in the same place where it began
It seems that with each subsequent year, black metal artists are becoming more and more interested in creating a palpable atmosphere than they are with writing good tunes. It is almost as if they have forgotten that the key to creating a believable atmosphere in black metal is first to focus on the music itself – the atmosphere is a product of the music, not the other way around. Blut Aus Nord have fallen victim to this trap twice now, and while they managed to claw their way back to the surface with the strength of several arrangements in 777 - Sect(s)
, their footholds have eroded and they have tumbled right back in on 777 - The Desanctication
. Lumbering, egregious meandering guitars cloaked in dissonance are the norm here, and 777 - The Desanctication
would end up nearly bereft of merit if it wasn’t for the inclusion of various melodies scattered throughout the album. Atmosphere was clearly the number one priority for Blut Aus Nord in composing this album and for better or worse the music takes the brunt of this decision.
There is little in the way of order or even logical progression when it comes to the song structures. This would be fine given the style of the album, but there are occasions when the transitions are cumbersome enough to make the listener wince. The shoddiness of the shift from the ambiance of “Epitome IX” to the bleak and boring cleans that accost the listener from the moment “Epitome X” takes off is a testament to how lazy this album seems to be thought out. Granted, “Epitome X” hits its stride a few minutes in to salvage itself with some engaging riffs. Sadly, these riffs are soon shoved into the corner in favor of a wandering instrumental approach not unlike what Deathspell Omega are known for. In fact, much of what Blut Aus Nord present on 777 - The Desanctication
can be viewed as a slow, poor rendition of what Deathspell Omega played on Paracletus
. The leads throughout this album are so similar to one another that it can seem as if they are recycled from other songs; progressively they grow tiresome and make the record seem longer than it actually is. Whenever 777 - The Desanctication
presents us with engaging material it never amounts to anything worthwhile, instead it does its piece and then fades away into obscurity to either be re-used later in the song with similar results or to simply never return again.
Much of what Blut Aus Nord do right on 777 - The Desanctication
could be built upon to make the album more than what it turned out to be. It is easy to be left confused when the band presents the bases for buildups that never come into fruition, or when the vocals come and go as they please like a ghost in the fog. The essence of the sound presented on 777 - The Desanctication
is to be unpredictable, and that it fine as long as the band recognize the work required in the songwriting department to make such an album worth listening to – especially in this genre. Black metal in this vein is not an easy thing to get right, and by the end of 777 - The Desanctication
whole tracks are forgotten simply because they didn’t do anything to warrant remembrance. “Epitome XII” repeats the exact same riff for six minutes solid, with little in the way of ear candy save an eerie choir that fades in and out sporadically. It is almost like the song is building to a crescendo that never surfaces, and as I mentioned before this is not an uncommon occurrence. The constant slow pace of the album doesn’t allow the drums to do anything besides plod along, and the bass guitar does nothing at all. Aside from the sinister “Epitome VIII”, there isn’t a single song that goes without a glaring fault.
Given that the album does nothing worth remembering, it is not hard to see why the replay value of 777 - The Desanctication
is so low. As the middle-piece of a trilogy that didn’t exactly start off with a bang, there is a lot resting on this album to save Blut Aus Nord’s conceptual saga. Unfortunately, 777 - The Desanctication
leaves the band treading water, unable to escape onto dry, firm land. The most frustrating part about the album is that it could have been great; there could have been some serious bombs here if the music had decided to not run in circles for 45 minutes and instead focused on having actual forward motion. This leaves Blut Aus Nord in a funny situation: they are 2/3 of the way through a trilogy that has no character other than its egg-shell atmosphere – thin and prone to cracking with no solid musical base underneath to resist and hold the shell in place. Unfortunately for them – an established black metal act – they are in a place where many inexperienced bands find themselves after not realizing that, despite what it may look like on the surface, good black metal requires strong songwriting.