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REVIEW: Blut Aus Nord – “Deus Salutis Meae”

Blut Aus Nord is, for all intents and purposes, the one-man project of a Frenchman who goes by the name Vindsval. Styled as a black metal band, Blut Aus Nord dabble in industrial and doom metal, among other things, and these elements mingle in the black on their 12th full-length album, Deus Salutis Meae. The album has been out since October 27 this year, consisting of ten songs and lasting a total of 35 minutes.

The name Blut Aus Nord is (grammatically bad) German for ‘blood from the north’, while Deus Salutis Meae means ‘G-d of My Salvation’ in Latin. Starting with two black metal clichés before the music even starts, this album varies from the de rigueur lo-fi production of black metal: rich in mids, but a surprisingly healthy low end. Vindsval drowns his musical pancake in the maple syrup of reverb. The mix is compressed to death to give a real impression of having been recorded on old analog equipment. Kvlt to the max.

Save Us!

Deus Salutis Meae starts with “δημιουργός”, a sinister, mood-setting soundscape. For those who do not read Greek and who cannot be bothered with Google translate, it transliterates to ‘demiourgós’, which Vindsval probably thought referred to the evil material spirit of gnostic mysticism (‘demiurge’) but it actually means ‘creative’ in English. That title might be a tad presumptuous for this album. Two other atmospheric noise filler tracks on the album have Greek titles.

The first real song is “Chorea Macchabeorum”, a mid-paced, pseudo-industrial stompscape with some evil chanting over it, sharing time with the growls. It pretty much sets the pace for the entire album.

When “Impius” starts, it becomes clear that Blut Aus Nord decided all of Deus Salutis Meae’s songs need to have the same tempo. Yes, it has the running double-bass drumming and the tremolo picking, but the snare drum and ride cymbal go at the same ~120 BPM pace as every other song on the album.

Penultimate track “Ex Tenebrae Lucis” actually does have a fast tempo, at least at the start; it slows down to the Blut Aus Nord comfort zone quickly enough. Vindsval cannot let a thing like actual aggression stand in the way of industriomechanical vocals, modulating guitar motifs, and synth sounds, after all. Again, the chanting near the end imparts a pseudo-religious effect. All perfectly done, all perfectly predictable.

Mid-album track “Apostasis” is similar to “Ex Tenebrae Lucis” and “Impius,” teasing with a bit of double-bass aggression before going back to the album’s ‘home tempo’. “Abisme” would be a good doom track if it did not have an almost comically predictable riff (cf. every doom band, ever, that did the same thing, only better). There is a nice, almost original melody near the end.

“Revelatio” starts again with the super-speed, but the impact is deadened by cheesy vocal effects that sound like a ten-year-old imitating a cat being tortured. But once more, the speed does not last and the song descends in tempo, almost as if Blut Aus Nord were under contract with the ‘Mid-Tempo Drummers Union of Northern France’ to meet a quota.

Standard protocol for a review like this requires lip service to be paid to every song on this album. One could mention the last song, “Métanoïa”, and its lurching rhythm at the same tempo as the rest of the album and its creative-not-creative use of tritones in its main motif; that it ends suddenly, with a lot of reverb ringing out the final notes and beats. It all seems pointless, however, for Deus Salutis Meae has identical songs throughout, with the aforementioned Greek fillers used to break up the monotony. Even though the album only lasts 35 minutes, it is easy to find oneself not listening to it halfway before it ends. Blut Aus Nord made one of those albums that requires multiple listens for one to ‘get’. However, what one ‘gets’ in the process of doing so is that all the songs are interchangeable.

Saved?

Blut Aus Nord did not make a masterpiece out of Deus Salutis Meae. It is a competent work put out three years after Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry, long enough to justify a tour and to make people notice that yes, this band still exists and still has relevance. But it is no The Work Which Transforms God or 777 – The Desanctication. For doomy, industrial ‘environmental’ black metal that lacks the ‘let’s do something offensive to give the 14-year-old trolls their first erections’ idiocy of Norwegian bands, one would be better off listening to either of those albums than this one.

 

Score: 5/10

Notable Tracks: “Revelatio”; “Ex Tenebrae Lucis”; “Impius”

FFO: Wolves In The Throne Room, Castevet

Blut Aus Nord have a Facebook page and a Bandcamp page, with Deus Salutis Meae streaming in full on it.

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