Blut Aus Nord
The Work which Transforms God/Thematic Emancipation of Archetypal Multiplicity
ith exorbitantly overwrought titles that smack of Harriet Miers’ prose style while president of the State Bar of Texas, the U.S. subsidiary of Candlelight Records has repackaged 2003’s Work with 2005’s Thematic, showcasing point and counterpoint in a swath of ambient Black Metal recalling the inhuman machinations of Godflesh’s Streetcleaner, and impassioned wrath of Blodsrit’s Ocularis Infernum. The effect is decidedly mixed: Instead of moving towards more traditional notions of Black Metal typified by Work’s churning drumming, and droning, air-siren’d guitars, Blut aus Nord ground their sound in ambient mire, sloshing through toothless horror tropes, where percussion consists in clunky chain rattles, and guitar curls up into amorphous tonal washes.
Blut aus Nord’s departure from Darkthrone territory is tipped off with a glance at the artwork; Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man stands, arms akimbo, chest and face erased in a pixilated swipe. Pentagrams and a pair of 777s orient to the foreground, in what must be Blut aus Nord’s attempt to combine Crowlean mysticism with the sort of de rigueur bestseller “arcana” of Dan Brown’s current novels. Unintelligible Latinisms litter the insides of the booklet, awkwardly coupling with sepulchral imagery. Page after page, text covers structure in what must be a not so subtle allusion to Da Vinci’s muse, Marcus Vitruvius’ De Architectura, noted for its delineation of temple architecture as correlative to human physiology.
In a way, Blut aus Nord are able to make this metaphor work for them. Each track on Work melds man and machine together in a seamless way; percussion is cold enough to be programmed, but reactive enough to be human; guitars mimic locomotives, roaring engines, tractor-trailers’ gears hissing and moaning in downshift. Voice is gravel’d, sharing the same gutter yawp of Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. As the record progresses, songs strip their selves of metal trappings, stepping into the rough sackcloth of ambient metal seemingly created solely from Justin Broadrick’s dreary harmonics, seismic guitar riffs, and martial drum programming.
Work is an interesting, engaging record, with definitive moments that demonstrate a great talent in combining genre to spectacularly grim effect. Thematic, however, is largely a step back for a band that once thrived on relentless reinvention. The tireless Godflesh worship disables this EP from the beginning, making it an intolerable 28 minutes.
The CD booklet concludes with Blut aus Nord’s mission statement: “We charge tradition with being an excuse for idleness, unpersonality [sic] and regression. We praise evolution for being the logical consequence of creation, progression, and elevation.” Yet, for Blut aus Nord to get back on the right track, regression is the only valid option.
Reviewed by: Stewart Voegtlin
Reviewed on: 2005-10-18