Blut Aus Nord
Odinist:The Destruction of Reason by Illumination

While the popularity of this band has been soaring with each release my interest has been plummeting. I still listen to Ultima Thulée and Memoria Vetusta from time to time, but I didn’t check out the reissues, and if I didn’t get the next three full lengths as review copies I probably would not have bothered. Many of you are probably seething right now, saying what the fuck is wrong with this guy… don’t get the wrong idea, I appreciate the musical journey and thoroughly enjoy each album I just don’t see any of them as album of the year material, not in even the worst of metal years.

You are only as good as your last album, or is the first album you personally heard from a band the measuring stick for all future releases? This new disc from one of French black metal’s most highly regarded bands in recent years should appease listeners that adhere to either perspective. Personally I picked up Blut Aus Nord years ago because of titles like “From Hlidskjalf” and “My Prayer Beyond Ginnungagap”. Fast forward 12 years and we get an album called Odinist. That caught my attention, made me think Vindsval was remembering his roots. After the disappointing MoRT, I was not expecting what is delivered here.

Odinist falls back on the strengths of the older albums without falling all the way back to the beginning. Listening to the simple strands of melody float through a static field that is at once somber and uplifting is a pleasure relegated to Ultima Thulée, until now. Replacing the icy cold production with a warmer feel added to the industrial feel and heightened the treading water in a dark cave atmospheres of Memoria Vetusta. The inherent dissonance that defines all Blut Aus Nord releases is still present, and still a huge presence, but some melody as crept back in along with some hard driving intensity, an aspect of extreme metal rarely used by Vindsval. Blastbeats have always had a role, but blastbeats are not about intensity. By layering the guitars and keyboards and swirling various effects and oozing raw feeling out of every pore, Blut Aus Nord achieved that edge of your seat anxiousness that horror movie soundtracks can only dream of and at the same time kept a composition inherently static. That was the brilliance of The Work Which Transforms God. The brilliance of Odinist is that they remembered all of this and brought it all together in “a nightmarish voyage of sonic disharmony,” to quote the promo sheet.

When a band continues to evolve from album to album in such a way that they remember their roots the progression works. Bands that do an abrupt style change with each release obviously lack any cohesiveness. Blut Aus Nord is an organic whole that now stretches back and forth a dozen years. I am thinking this album will stick with me for many years to come and may even sneak into my top ten list for 2007.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
November 28th, 2007


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