Blut Aus Nord

Memoria Vetusta II - Dialogue With The Stars

Written by: EW on 25/03/2009 10:24:00

Forever shunning the limelight, France's mysterious black metal troupe Blut Aus Nord are back in town with album number seven, "Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars", an album which in title at least could be deemed as the natural successor to album two "Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age". Being considerably closer to my favoured end of the dense cavernous world of BM and a band at that with quite a reputation predominantly formed by 2003's "The Work Which Transforms God" this has been an album release I had a certain intrigue about for some time.

"The Work..." being the only album I had previously heard by BAN, and as of yet not fully realised it's wonders so many others speak of, may not exactly class me as a long-established fan but results in "Memoria Vetusta II" as being a test of their overall worthiness to a French underground black metal scene surprisingly strong relative to it's historical contribution to the pantheon of metal.

The action gets going immediately with "Acceptance (Aske)" heading straight into dissonant BM territory, referencing Burzum, Wolves in the Throne Room, and more euphorically, Windir, on the way to creating a sound inherently dark and broody yet one that always possesses a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, unlike many of their counterparts. This could be surmised as being thanks to the wicked sense of melody found in "The Cosmic Echoes of Non-Matter (Immaterial Voices of the Fathers)" and "The Alcove of Angels (Vipassana)" and perversely, perhaps, to the ambient inclinations in "Disciple's Libration (Lost in the Nine Worlds)" and "Elevation" where Varg's monotone ambient dirges have been indulged to become a moment of fresh air sandwiched between rasping, driving black metal. The majority of the album is spent in this tone, with a drumsound sadly lacking the feel of a human touch and a vocalist nestled in the distance amid the dissonance of BAN's synthesised riffs, but riffs some of these are. Cascading down from the distance and given plenty of time to grow in many cases, in the likes of "The Formless Sphere (Beyond The Reason)" they trace out symphonies of masterfully crafted black metal of the kind those without a passion for BM often fail to grasp. Thin they may, and lower in the mix than they deserve but "The Alcove Of Angels (Vipassana)" and "The Cosmic Echoes Of Non-Matter (Immaterial Voices Of The Fathers)" are majestic and emperial and hint at why BAN are such a mysteriously revered name.

Don't expect much in the way of promotion or touring to support this record; you'd be lucky to even find a picture of Blut Aus Nord existing. Thus adding to the sense of other worldliness in their more spaced-out interludes, "Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars" is a deeply intriguing listen that could even do the unthinkable and pull in some outsiders to the enclosed world of BM as amongst all the theatrics there are some seriously good bands ploughing their furrows in it's rich plains.

Download: The Alcove of Angels (Vipassana), The Cosmic Echoes Of Non-Matter (Immaterial Voices Of The Fathers)
For The Fans Of: Burzum, Emperor, Wolves in the Throne Room
Listen: Myspace (fan-site)
Buy: iTunes

Release date: 23.02.09
Candlelight Records

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