Record Label: Debemur Morti Productions
If you’re looking for a band that lives to defy convention, that spends its time living to part with the norms, then you can do far worse than France’s Blut Aus Nord. And from their extensive catalogue, if you’re looking for an album of anti-cosmic hate-filled misanthropy, an album of pre-blackened misery, then you can do worse than a full exploration of “Disharmonium…..” the latest and arguably most intense of this strange band’s repertoire.
“Chants of the Deep Ones” kicks the album off in oddly traditional Black Metal fashion, with slow tempo crushing guitar riffs, plastered hard over a light-speed drum track. The far-off howls and growls delivered by Vindsval (guitar, vocals) are heavily reverbed and full of echoes, while the synth delivers a two-tone dissonant dirge that seeps deep into the brain and takes up semi-permanent residence. When the track finally breaks down, the layers are revealed and the dark heart of this album is opened. The path is set….
“Tales of the Old Dreamer” employs another level of deepened darkness, with the distant echoes of the guitars being accompanied by the disembodied drifting lone female voice swimming in and out of focus. The bass sweeps up and down the register in a fashion designed to create unease and uncertainty, the chords are always resolved, but not in a way that creates a settled experience for the listener. Most unnerving music. This, for me, is precisely how Black Metal should be delivered- with a huge serving of disquiet, disharmony, unfocused hate and undeniable beauty.
This downward spiral gathers intensity within the first minute of “ Into the Woods” another black slab of gloomy, unknowable blackness. There are many bands that play Black Metal, slapping on corpse paint and standing before the cameras looking mean and moody. And there are others that live and breathe the concepts and darkness envisioned by Euronymous all those years ago. Blut Aus Nord stands on the top tier of this Black Elite, frowning down at the pretenders. A masterpiece.
“Neptune’s Eye” cements the purpose of this exceptionally dark album. The Deathspell Omega-esquediscordant synth takes full centre stage over the savage backing track, a whirl of lethal guitars, mournful bass and ever-changing drum patterns. Guttural growls and venomous wails well up and down creating an atmosphere of complete dread and horror. This is the darkest cinema one can imagine, set in the coldest black of deep space. A terrifying track that’s up there with the best. Eventually (and the less hardy would say thankfully) “Neptune’s Eye” segues into “That Cannot Be Dreamed.” Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a break from the dark intensity, then this isn’t the place to look. There may well be lyrics to this album written somewhere, possibly in another dimension, but they are completely unnecessary. The atmosphere alone is enough to freeze the soul of even the most hopeful and positive individual. Without understanding the howls and growls, it’s abundantly clear that this album doesn’t want us here, that we are deeply unwelcome.
The alien, anti-human storm of hatred continues with “Keziah Mason”, seemingly a homage to HP Lovecraft’s dark witch of the same name. The most earthly of the tracks on this extraordinary album, the dark whispering and crazed murmurings of the witch do their best to unsettle the soundest of minds. There’s not a single shred of positivity, not a single ray of hope, just an endless wealth of dripping hate and despair. It’s all the more frightening for being levelled at the listener at a dirge-like, miserably slow pace as if to force home the misery with maximum clarity, so every nuance of evil is felt…
We’re almost there, but not before “The Apotheosis of the Unnameable” has cut its vicious way through our subconscious and left us downcast, numbed, mute. It’s a while since I’ve heard an album this negative, this savage, and this heartless. And it has been delivered beautifully. “Disharmonium…” is an album for all. The DSBM guys will lap it up, the anti-cosmic deep thinkers will furrow their brows, and the straight-edge BM fans will find a new level of hate and more reasons to detest the world. Over these 7 songs, over these 46 minutes, Blut Aus Nord have unleashed a deeply dark, imaginative, terrifying album of intensely grim proportions. And It’s an absolute triumph.
They should be rightly proud.