A primary band in a period of waste, Blut aus Nord - and, really, many French acts - are riding the waves of their own progressions into musical realms we’ve yet to hear, which just goes to discredit anyone who says today’s music is dying including the benighted who associate themselves with aforementioned waste. Not many metal bands can boast genuine affinity for the dark in the likes of this group, Lunar Aurora, Axis of Perdition, Pensées Nocturnes, or even Scott Walker, yet in the spirit of madness a la Foucault, 777: Sect(s) - and Desanctification -eclipse the whole genre for 2011 in its ruination of man’s roots in illusion, which I will touch on later.
In Blut aus Nord’s own progression via virtually one man, and most importantly away from the absurdity and aping of modern black metal, the integration of psychoacoustic effects of his work was witnessed in The Work That Transforms God, and on the 777 trilogy they are doubled. As is true with most headphone music, there are many specificities going on production-wise and, in turn, composition-wise that your brain begins to hear things that may or may not be there, and in tandem with the derangement of certain sequences, mainly the discordant parts in Epitome I and falling sensation of Epitome III, the album’s power begins to show. It’s not common for literally insane music to sound organic, but that gives the songs a special flair, especially when considered with the contrasting beautiful melodies and keys of Epitome II and VI. The alien, reverberated guitar sound accents an otherworldly tinge but also a dismantling effect, tying in with the themes of the trilogy, and also blending extremely well with the eerie-as-hell (and real) male choir.
Also notable are the structures of many of the riffs. The band has forsaken the typicalities of a four measure sequence or anything easy to follow the first time through for melodies, ranging from astrally ethereal to unsettling, that have free reign over their coda. It will throw people off but not discouragingly; the free-flowing elements are actually doing a favor to, not only contextualize the trance of the music but also, forgive the drum machine sound. The drums have rarely sounded good on their albums, mainly due to an industrial-esque influence (more clear in certain passages here), but there are a number of other percussive layers trading places with the snare or crashes here and there that helps take one’s mind away from the distraction that is fake drums. Still, especially now, one must wonder how good acoustic drums would sound here.
Now, when you label every song “Epitome”, cries of pretension may ring, but no one knows how to use English these days, especially in the States, but the idea of this 777 trilogy is meant as a demolition of our ideological follies (in case “Sect(s)” not enough of a clue); each song takes one idea towards this, hence it is the epitome of this idea. This is more obvious in the lyrics, which are all one sentence, like so: “A source that preserves its light far from the life of a supreme abstraction that leaves the dogmas of the time to create its own illusion, to create its legend and its enemy” or “The glory of the fathers of man; forgers who inject the blood of saints.” Strong ideas, but not transparent, and thus Blut aus Nord’s concept begins with all strength and no misapprehension.
It is a wonder to me that releases in the likes of this, Virgin Black’s Requiem trilogy, Unexpect’s work, Sigh’s recent albums, or a number of other very notable metal-ish releases are completely ignored by a media who claim to love music and love to find important artists. Even Agalloch got on NPR with their underrated Marrow of the Spirit. If there is someone looking for music worthy of your attention for more than a nano-ipod-second, this would be somewhere to look. Blut aus Nord continue to progress, their ambience nearly tangible, and shining a positive light on the future for all serious listeners.