Review Summary: Blut Aus Nord create the darkest and most hallucinatory album of the year; a fever-dream of experimental black metal imbued with dozens of influences that traps the band within their own aspirations.
Blut Aus Nord's last album practically wrote its own review. Memoria Vetusta III (Saturnian Poetry)
was unabashedly black metal in its purest and unadulterated form, penned by a band whose understanding of the genre could give even the most staunch devotees of the second-wave style a run for their money. It was by the numbers but all together inspiring in surprising ways. In this distilled and rote aesthetic, Blut Aus Nord found perfection. Memoria Vetusta III (Saturnian Poetry)
was black metal polished to an unrivaled sheen; a diatribe of the cosmos and nature full of everything that has made black metal so ubiquitous since its inception.
While Blut Aus Nord's prior album was unrepentant in its adherence to genre standards, the band has never been one to stick too long to convention. Deus Salutis Meae
is a different sort of beast, even compared to the band’s more experimental outings.
To call Deus Salutis Meae
the band's "Deathspell" album would be a little reductive (and in some ways incorrect) but it's definitely an apt knee-jerk reaction to the album's sound. It's incredibly dense and more outwardly aggressive. There's more structure than, say, Paracletus
, but an incendiary feeling is shared, giving Deus Salutis Meae
a very sinister but tactile sound.
The connections with Deathspell Omega are more anecdotal than anything, as Deus Salutis Meae
in a lot of ways calls back to the band's brief love affair of industrial metal. The second track, "Chorea Macchabeorum," for example, has an eerie and chugging spirit that feels like its straight out of a horror-rave scene from some 90s B-movie. Its low-end beats pulsate with deliberation, giving the song a subterranean and hypnotic drive that carries through the album's entirety.
From here, Deus Salutis Meae
feels very hallucinatory; a fever-dream coalescing into a hellish nightmare with a choking doom-leaden atmosphere. Ghostly chants and pained screams twist in the foreground to create a very compelling aesthetic, quite different from anything else in the band's catalog. This obscure portrait, with its deliberate and driving pace, feels exhausting at times. There is some implementation of ambience, though, it mostly feels like it is adding to the texture of the music.There are also moments of ethereal intrigue, mostly in the form of interludes. However, it never feels like the the album has any room to breathe, thus, leaving the listener equally breathless.
Deus Salutis Meae
, impressively a solo album of sorts, manages to surprise with its multiple layers, incredible production, and unparalleled attention to how the music sounds rather than what it sounds like
. It should be noted that within a realm of music where originality is sparsely found, Blut Aus Nord have crafted a unique record. Unfortunately it gets mired in its own ambition. Deus Salutis Meae
, for all its intentions, is a messy and confusing listen when digested at once. Separately, the tracks lack the context of the album as a whole. It’s in a strange position, sounding too cohesive but broken when taken apart. As a listening experience it misses some vital marks, but as an experiment for an amazing and storied band, it excels.