Blut Aus Nord
Hallucinogen


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (338 Reviews)
September 25th, 2019 | 176 replies


Release Date: 10/11/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Less frog licking, more wall climbing.

When people talk Blut Aus Nord most of the conversation is geared towards their 777 trilogy (and rightly so) but when considering the vast mass of this French band’s discography there’s a noticeable, almost linear development in their sound. Whether it be the unabashed black metal purity of Blut’s nineties material that experimented with lacey, gazey atmospherics and shell-shocked impressions. Wind forward a few years and the French tour de force unveils their newest offering (albeit streamed early in response to an illegal leaking) and while Hallucinogen is a forward thinking move into the world of psychedelia based black metal. Yet, the band still suffers under the proverbial ceiling of its own making.

Mostly, it comes down to Hallucinogen's ability to write transcendental music and somehow fall short of the expectations they set within their sound. You can fill a balloon with helium but if you let it go inside it will only ever ascend to the ceiling. Hallucinogen, like much of Blut Aus Nord's music fits this vague imagery, bobbing around before resting in a shadowy corner.

Still, to keep this analogy going - the fact that Blut's 2019 piece can even reach the lofty heights of joists and Michael Angelo artwork is quite a feat. Despite how negatively geared this review has been thus far, Hallucinogen is a great record, chock full of good ideas and a well executed psychoactive atmosphere. The album's opening piece, "Anthosmos" is a building piece that offers part atmosphere and outright dissonance. Now that's pretty standard as far as [both] the band and the genre goes, but for Blut Aus Nord working from a simplistic standpoint gives better accessibility, especially after the band's mammoth (and occasionally rewarding) 777 trilogy. But for all the album's greatness (presented largely on the outer) Hallucinogen stops at that and just short of a fantastic, genre-defining record.

Even Hallucinogen's psychedelia inspired elements aren't immediate and have all the ear-marks of a "grower"... except it doesn't. In short terms, what you see is exactly what you get; quality, memorable music. Although the psychedelia is not a deliberately obvious (“come take some mushrooms with me”) exploration into frog-licking black metal. Rather, it's a gentle, somewhat cliche expressionism: basically, the music itself is all the high you need. This thought is better shown throughout the album's centre, "Mahagma" and "Nebeleste" carry the particular nuance of an atmosphere induced psych-trip torn into a visceral and un-doubting black metal affair. But for all the grandeur, the affirmation of melding beauty into dissonance and subtlety into aesthetic bluntness, Blut Aus Nord doesn't transcend into its intended shape. It's mass stops at its ceiling, unable to pass the barrier. This is due to the album’s carrying sound saturation. At times, there’s just too much emphasis on the synths, too much bearing in the atmosphere and try to bridge the gaps between their 777 trilogy and the group’s newer sound directions. Despite these grievances, Hallucinogen is still a very enjoyable listen.

As a whole Blut Aus Nord is a tale of layers told separately, but meshed together. It works, but doesn’t reach the lofty expectations of open air. In 2019, the band has nailed the artwork, found a production value to suit the band’s shift in sound but there’s something (some would argue still) holding back in terms of songwriting. There are time where the repeated motifs can tune its listeners out. There’s cohesion that’s done well, but not well enough to maintain this album on a peak. It could be that even after all these years that Blut Aus Nord have built their rooftops too high, never to be reached by theme alone.



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user ratings (199)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2019


12518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Streamed early here due to some douche-nut leaking the album.



https://blutausnord.bandcamp.com/album/hallucinogen

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2019


4083 Comments


Blut Aus Nord puttin Bloodborne bosses on their covers now hmm

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2019


12518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some pretty bossin' artwork.

Scheumke
September 25th 2019


1728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heard about this band for years but never actually listened to them. Is this a nice place to start? Great review as always nocte.

Digging: Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

DDDeftoneDDD
September 25th 2019


12156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Fuck yeah...my cellphone background for 3 days now m/

Album is awesome...my faves are last 2 tracks.



Harsh rev. But you've explained the conflict between the name of the record, its cover and the sound you get pretty well. Its not indeed an immense trip through psychedelia but a very gazey and beautiful BM album, with some true metal riffs to keep you engaged.

Digging: Cryptic Shift - Visitations from Enceladus

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2019


12518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes and no, I've found their Memoria Vet series in the band's quality tier but if you're a noobie to some BAN, this would actually be an excellent spot to start. Then there's the 777 trilogy after that.



Edit @ DDD: I did have this rated higher initially, having used this as a casual listen between the new Cult Of Luna, Until Death Overtakes Me, Esoteric and Opeth - but having on to review (with more listens) gave a tune in/tune out effect after a few repeats.

Egarran
September 25th 2019


16417 Comments


I'll just sadly accept that I will never be a fan of this band. It should totally be my thing, but it's just, well, not my thing.

PM me for writing tips.

Scheumke
September 25th 2019


1728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aight. Diving in.

Pikazilla
September 25th 2019


11126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, I generally disagree though.



The Work Which Transforms God is da best.

DDDeftoneDDD
September 25th 2019


12156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"noobie to some BAN" AKA Me

Scheumke
September 25th 2019


1728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ps, Eg you back to your old av eh? Other one got boring?

DDDeftoneDDD
September 25th 2019


12156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The Goat is the GOAT

Pikazilla
September 25th 2019


11126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So it goes



The Work Which Transforms God > Memoria Vetusta I > Memoria Vetusta II > Hallucinogen = Cosmosophy > Ultima Thulee > The Mystical Beast of Rebellion > Desanctification > sect(s) > Odinist > Memoria Vetusta III > Deus Salutis Meae > Mort



Not ranking the eps

DDDeftoneDDD
September 25th 2019


12156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this discog is fucked up

Pikazilla
September 25th 2019


11126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Vindsval is a crazy man m/

Egarran
September 25th 2019


16417 Comments


> Other one got boring?

The goat needs privacy once in a while. Other avis are just random pics until it gets its energy back.
Speaking of, Pooh probably feels very, very tired.

I have other notes on the secret lives of avis, but I feel there's not yet a suitable audience for that.

Scheumke
September 25th 2019


1728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alright, might dive into some of the others next. I like what I'm hearing from this so far.

Artuma
September 25th 2019


31589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

starting to lose interest in this band's output. still really good but it's starting to feel like they're just spinning their wheels at this point

Digging: The Smith Street Band - Don't Waste Your Anger

Pikazilla
September 25th 2019


11126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

For those trying to get into the band, please note they have like 4 different sounds.

Scheumke
September 25th 2019


1728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Pooh probably feels very, very tired."

Yeah I know right. Just feels like a very recognizable av, and I'm autistic enough that it usually takes me a little while before I remember who other people are when they change theirs, so I thought I'd kinda just sit it out with this one.



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