Blut Aus Nord – Deus Salutis Meæ (Debemur Morti)

Wednesday, 1st November 2017
Rating: 7/10

In what could be Blut Aus Nord’s most debated album since 2006’s MoRT, Deus Salutis Meæ essentially flips the script from the band’s previous (and totally excellent) Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry. Memoria could, quite possibly, be the Frenchman’s most distinct offering of atmospheric black metal, offering up a heady convergence of mesmeric riffs and overall vastness of song. In comparison to some of BAN’s previous efforts, Memoria felt like it was the conclusion of a winding journey, with the band now ready to either take a satisfying victory lap, or go in a different direction. Deus Salutis Meæ answers that question rather resoundingly.

The industrial, mechanical side of BAN has decided to rear its head, eschewing riffs and epic motifs for a cold, plodding, nihilistic sound. The amount of layering — cold, cyber layering, that is — found across the album’s ten cuts clearly has an endgame in mind. Deus Salutis Meæ could be intended as a long-form, singular body of work, with grinding gears, perilous cries from the deep and spazzed-out guitar riffs. It’s like a futuristic dream gone wrong and Blut Aus Nord is being piped through loudspeakers as an assembly line works and works and works.

Largely bereft of emotion and to a large degree, memorable moments, Deus Salutis Meæ is the antithesis to its predecessor. Such a move can only be made by a band with a resume like Blut Aus Nord’s; there’s no need to re-count their staggering sonic triumphs and questionable stabs at blazing a not-so-beaten path. All Deus Salutis Meæ does is add to the enigma and luster of one of black metal’s true touchstone bands.