Blut aus Nord – Hallucinogen

Band: Blut aus Nord
Title: Hallucinogen
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release date: 20 September 2019
Country: France
Format reviewed: High Quality Digital Version

“Into the vast reaches of space…”

BLUT AUS NORD is surely a well-known name in the underground and black metal community, creating one masterful album after the other since as early as 1995. The project headed by vocalist and guitarist Vindsval, often crafting albums for the band completely on his own, has become synonymous with the term “Avantgarde Black Metal”, incorporating a tremendous amount of genre influences into their music. While once in a while releasing more straight-forward, yet still extremely well composed Black Metal albums such as the Memoria Vetusta trilogy, many of their records go far beyond genre limitations: Arguably started in 2003 with the full-length titled “The Work Which Transforms God”, Vindsval embraced influences of industrial sounds and uncanny soundscapes. Buzzing guitars as well as an overall oppressive and eerie atmosphere made this album one of the definitive developments in BLUT AUS NORD‘s history.

The next big step would come in the years 2011 & ’12, were the 777 Trilogy was released, composed over the course of three albums, Sect(s), The Desanctification & Cosmosophy, as well as 18 tracks, the Epitomes. With this trinity Vindsval without question created his most ambitious project, offering themes that go as far as occultism and deeply philosophical and existential subject matter. The sound of the series integrates a myriad of influences, going from black metal over industrial to dark ambient, in fact I believe to accurately describe the sound of the trilogy in a compact manner is impossible, these records have to be experienced! This avantgarde-industrial sound was to be culminated on the 2017 album “Deus Salutis Meæ”.

Now it’s 2019 and BLUT AUS NORD return with the next step in their ever-ongoing development: “Hallucinogen” was released on September 20th of this year, ending the “cycle of industrialized dissonance” (~ as quoted from the Bandcamp page), introducing a new sound colour for the project. The new sound goes well into psychedelic territory and ascends to the vast reaches of space, while still being remarkably recognizable as a BLUT AUS NORD release…

The cover artwork already portrays the psychedelic space-atmosphere of the album: It features a strange tree, having mushrooms and some other fungal creatures with numerous eyes growing on it, seemingly unfolding into an unending galaxy ad infinitum.

“Hallucinogen” opens with “Nomos Nebuleam”, starting off the album in a strong manner with a recognizably BLUT AUS NORD, yet fresh sounding tremolo-picked guitar riff. The drums sound very organic and fit in well, while the synth-ambiance is not too intrusive, on the opposite, it further complements the sound. This opening passage alone creates a transcendental feeling that as the album goes on only gets stronger! The track then introduces distant, choir-like singing for further ambiance, after which the opening riff gets picked up again and moving forward gets enriched ever so slightly. The vocals then get more present, Vindsval had experimented with clean vocals before on “777 – Cosmosophy”, but in my opinion, they work even better on this record. The track afterward introduces a more dissonant riff that also progressively gets enhanced with more elements. What follows next is a riff infused with a Black N’ Roll feel that fits into the track strangely well, the riff is used multiple times toward the end of the track, but never for too long… “Nomos Nebuleam” closes with a clean guitar part with underlying keyboard-ambiance. Overall, the first track is an amazing start for this new album and yet, it still doesn’t reveal everything on offer in this release, a mere glimpse at the greater universe that the band opens up later, as if you were passing the moon amazed after taking off earth, not knowing the magnitude of things to come.

Track two, “Nebeleste”, starts with a more typical BLUT AUS NORD riff that is however soon changed with ambient elements and the returning spacey guitar-tone from track one, which gets layered unto the opening riff for great effect. This track also introduces the Black Metal vocals for the first time, used sparingly while the chant-like vocals are further utilized. A Space-Rock interlude-riff is followed by a slow-pace section, after which the riff gets used and morphed, the progression of the track creating an excellent atmosphere. The entire last minute of this track gave me goosebumps, featuring an amazing guitar part with intensifying drums, like a spaceward ascension to another celestial plane… everything is pulled off with such an indescribable competence!

“Sybelius” features great drumming and a more melancholic feeling to the guitar. The drumming gets gradually more compelling and the Black N’ Roll feel returns, although it now gets blended in further with the remaining instrumentation. As the song evolves there is a trippy section with prevalent chant-singing, feeling like a sort of ritual, as well as the reintroduction of Vindsvals screams. All established elements get brought together for the tracks well-crafted climax. “Anthosmos” commences with a barrage of blast-beats and distorted guitar, having an overarching Black Metal feeling, more so than the other tracks before. The track has a great progression and offers a lot of variety, chanting and screaming constantly trade places, the Space-Rock edge gets layered with a misanthropic riff, sounding absolutely amazing and the intensity builds up until the end, where an ambient outro with clean, beautiful guitar provides a suitable resolution. You overcame the existential dread inherently arising when confronted with the larger universe!

After a fierce start, “Mahagma” offers beautiful chants, as well as a very progressive and almost adventurous sound: Your journey into the depths of space has just reached maximum velocity, the universe is yours to take! “Haalucinählia” lets you enter a realm beyond the physical state of being with the most trippy section of the album yet, echoey guitars and uncanny chants increasing the psychedelia to even higher levels. About ¾ into the track, a clean break lets you out of the psychedelic space-gate for a brief moment, only for the last minute to crank the intensity to eleven: Fast riffing and pounding blast-beats suck you back into the vortex for the climax of the trip… Every element of the universe rushes through you in mere seconds! “Cosma Procyiris” again brings the strengths of the album together for a fitting conclusion to the mind-expanding space-journey that “Hallucinogen” offered.

BLUT AUS NORD created something really special, the new album is experimental to its core, offering many new elements never before seen in the bands releases, yet it still sounds recognizably like BLUT AUS NORD! This really demonstrates the competence and masterful musicianship Vindsval and his companions possess, their new album is transcendental, hallucinogenic, psychedelic, avant-garde, progressive and so many things more, it’s hard to count… As far as I’m concerned, “Hallucinogen” is a flawless album, not often before have I listened to an album that was this perfect through and through, so I am very glad to give this record my first ever 10/10 here on BAZ! 10/10 the trve Medvson

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10/10 Immortal Classic
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