Friday, March 11, 2011

Blut Aus Nord - 777 - Sect(s) (2011)

With such a dazzling panoply of distortion at their backs, it becomes a bit of a guessing game to where Blut Aus Nord are next going to steer their career. Individual releases tend to variate greatly from one another with but a few constants, and then reappear, years and miles down the creative highway as if they'd never lapsed from sight. 777 - Sect(s), the 8th full-length from the French entrepreneurs, does not actually bring as much of the unexpected to the table as several of the band's past diversions. In fact, it's pretty close in its stylistic contrast to previous efforts like Odinist or the What Once Was...Liber I project that released last year, but I'll be damned if the band have not once more flexed their imagination upon a fully submersible experience. Within the first two tracks, I had become fully dissolved into its perplexed, abusive aural narrative...again! It almost pisses me off, except that in the end I'm the one that adversely benefits.

If you've listened through the back catalog, then you know to expect compelling arrangements of both dissonance and melody. This album is planned as the first in a trilogy, so like last year's work, its but an installment of conceptual, structured chaos in a grand pattern we cannot yet judge. The play list is divided into 7 pieces, with a length of about 45 minutes, but there seem to be two primary motifs coursing through it. The first is that of blasted, driving fare threaded with discordant, disheveled note choices that create a schizoid symmetry ("Epitomes I and III"), and the second is the slower, drudging fare belabored in stunning bends and melodies, backed by soft synthesizers ("Epitomes II, IV and VI"). Though the latter selections are the more resilient and engrossing, the faster material really puts them into perspective by spanning them out across the distance of the record. In addition, they incorporate traces of electric percussion and louder ambiance in various segues throughout (the close of "Epitome I" is a prime example), and the sum of these fluctuations births an uncanny, atmospheric hypnosis one can experience time and time again, tethered from solitude by Vindsval's mocking rasp.

Blut Aus Nord does not disappoint here, but in all the album does lack some of the standing fiber of their past works. The Frenchmen are not long on guitar riffs, they are simply means to an unwholesome end, a nightmare space between urban reality and metaphysical horror, but a few of the faster passages, like 2010's What Once Was...Liber I do seem to be an inkling dry. That said, I've been listening through this a good number of times now and the haunted thrills never dissipate. I'd liken this to a sort of antithesis of Deathspell Omega's Paracletus. Where that was a busy, almost overwhelming burst of ideas wrought through unhinged, explosive paced aggression, this is a more primordial alternative, lurking in the margins of complexity but only rarely stepping out into the bloodstream of intensity. 777 - Sect(s) is not the perfect engine of creation that I've always dreamed of from this band, but it's yet another stimulating excursion into an impeccable body of work.

Verdict: Win [8.75/10]

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