Review Summary: Blut aus Nord trimmed every negative aspect of the previous two albums and improved everything else, coming away with an album that not only exceeds all expectations but tops the other two albums in the trilogy combined.
To claim that Blut aus Nord have a wide discography would almost be a disservice to the sheer amount of shades of black metal they've covered. They are perhaps one of the most eclectic of the long-running black metal bands, and arguably one of the more prolific, but even to this day perhaps one of the most mysterious; very little is known about Blut aus Nord from who they are, what they're about to even what they look like. To this day you'd be hard pressed to find even a picture of the band that is even slightly revealing, be it that they're hooded, so veiled in black/white filters that what you think is a figure may actually be something else; or maybe covered in roots, or the picture is so dark you can't really see anything. Their albums are no less mysterious and elusive feeling from the cold, cryptic The Work Which Transforms God
to the warm, celestial Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
, and many things in between. Cosmosophy
is the finishing piece of the 777 trilogy, a series of disjointed (though not negatively), twisted and obscure compositions that flow from one to the other, each released under a year from each other. Though the first two albums in this trilogy have some serious merits that very few bands could replicate, the third album risked being a repeat of the first two, arguably treading the line between boredom and redundancy and perhaps the trilogy being better off as a duo if not enough changes were made. Thankfully, Blut aus Nord has very different ideas for the third installment of the album and came away with an album that not only exceeds all expectations but tops the other two albums in the trilogy - combined. That's not to say that they made any huge changes, or made it sound like it wasn't meant for the trilogy. Blut aus Nord executed this record so well that even though a lot of things are very similar it just sounds like thrice the records that preceded it. Every mistake in the first two albums rectified, every good aspect of the previous albums capitalized on and many more good things added; for a band that has been making albums since 1995, the fact they're still progressing and discovering things, arguably even still innovating is such a promising prospect that it deserves to be met with excitement. Perhaps at this point you're wondering just what makes this record so many levels above the other two counter piece albums, and the answer is everything, even though on the surface it doesn't sound like very much has had a big shift, which is part of the strength of the record.
shows how very simple changes can have almost impossibly positive results, and just by removing the unnecessary sounds and influences can make an album so much more than it could have been without that step. One of the biggest changes is the abandonment of black metal from the palette - the wretched vocals are so far and few between that you may even miss them unless you're listening very closely. The blastbeats are all but gone, the songs relying on a more electronic, groove-oriented beat to carry the tracks. The distorted, dissonant and cryptic guitars still remain in full strength but now that they're paired with clean, almost desperate sounding vocals, distorted and warped into infectious chants. Sometimes they can sound a little bit sourly executed, but thankfully the distortion/effects on the vocals hide it well and it's never too distracting and often adds to the atmosphere of the track beautifully. Which brings us to the main strength of the album, the sublime atmosphere that enshrouds this record's every note and sound. For a solo effort of just one of the members of the band, the way that the drum machine, synths and guitars all work to compliment each other every single instance is extraordinary. The riffs themselves are as infectious and unique as Blut aus Nord have ever been able to bring to the table, clearly showing that many of the bands' strengths obviously comes from Vindsval alone. Another aspect of this album that needs to be mentioned is the flow of it, a serious flaw of the previous two albums in the trilogy which sounded hacked together; Cosmosophy flows beautifully and really feels like a convincing and elaborate journey through disorienting and captivating soundscapes that only Blut aus Nord could do justice in this medium. Leaving black metal behind in this record only heightened every strength the trilogy's style had in its arsenal, and is easily the strongest recording since 2009's masterpiece Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
. The subtlety of the synths that compliment everything else, the groove-oriented mid-paced electronic beats that increase the flow and captivity of the album, the strong Blut aus Nord-esque riffs that are almost impossible to not appreciate, all wrapped up in one album with all the unnecessary fat trimmed out of it. A perfect closer to the trilogy, and one of Blut aus Nord's best recordings to date, which for a band that is celebrating 18 years of existence can only be applauded and appreciated.