Review Summary: You can’t help but feel completely infused within the music2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Blut Aus Nord’s last album in the ‘777’ trilogy is a majestic finale. It continues with the evolution into a slower, industrial-groove exhibited on the last two albums, and does so with a distinct sense of melody. In this regard, this album might be the only poignantly melodic industrial album available, which exemplifies Blut Aus Nord’s tendency to produce something innovative and interesting within most of their releases. Because of this, it is certainly the most effective record of the trilogy; a record that learns from the past, without doing so at the expense of ambition.
If you’re familiar with the bands previous works you’ll definitely notice (and somewhat expect) a lack of typically black metal techniques; nevertheless it could be argued that overall the album employs a black metal style aesthetically, through the slow tempos and often musically minimal arrangements. This does, however, actually help the overall feel of the album; unlike in ‘Sect(s)’ and to a lesser extent ‘Desanctification’ where their seemed to be, at least to me, an ongoing internal conflict between the black metal ideas and the contrasting industrial ideas. Instead, the musical territory on this album definitely shares a kinship with the slower pieces of the previous two albums, like ‘Epitome II’ or ‘Epitome XIII’, and makes the album feel far more cohesive because of it.
Another aspect of the album that has shifted focus away from black metal is the notable sparseness of shrieked vocals throughout the album. They only appear on two tracks, and when they do appear it’s a rather ephemeral experience. Nonetheless, when they do kick in it is all the more noticeable and impressive due to their absence during the rest of the album.
In their place you will find clean vocals, albeit extremely processed and artificial-sounding clean vocals. At first I found them to be, well, ghastly, much like my first impressions with the drums in ’Memoria Vetusta II’; I thought that Vindsval had genuinely reached a stage of madness so as to think that the vocals actually complemented the music. However, in a similar fashion to my experience with the drums in MVII, I soon grew to tolerate the vocals, but they never became at all impressive. Luckily, these vocals are also used sparingly, and are so low in the mix they easily become aurally avoidable.
Now onto my favourite part of the album; the sublime melodies. I think these are some of Blut Aus Nord’s greatest and most powerful phrases and riffs. The melody at the end of ‘Epitome XVI’, following the dramatic build, hits you with such awe and majesty that you can’t help but feel completely infused within the music. Then take the repeating riff on ‘Epitome XVIII’; I know it’s a cliché, but it really does induce a hypnotic effect that continues to linger with you after the completion of the riff, while ending in ambience. These absolutely magnificent melodic moments have never been so prominent, or even as well implemented in the vast majority of Blut Aus Nord’s previous works, making this album something very special indeed.
Blut Aus Nord have improved on many aspects seen previously in the trilogy, and have walked upon new ground towards a horizon of beauty and poignancy, that should appeal to most people with a passion for music. There are notable flaws, however, but they ultimately are not enough to stop this being a very impressive journey, and a fitting end to a series of albums I have grown to love dearly.