Blut Aus Nord – 777 – Sect(s) (Debermur Morti Productions)

Thursday, 21st March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

A rather wide divide has always surrounded these Frenchmen, for they’re not as sideways as Deathspell Omega (who really is?) and they’re hardly straightforward, so that space in between is what has often rankled the black metal contingent. Once beyond their hallmark Odinist: The Destruction Of Reason By Illumination, it’s been somewhat of a crapshoot for Blut As Nord, although 777 – Sect(s) is an obvious step toward establishing some idea of continuity, especially since it’s the first out of a proposed trilogy.

The automatic sound distinction the band can lay claim to is their crawling, tingling riffs, and they’re used quite frequently throughout this six-song effort (all songs start with “Epitome.” Figure it out from there). Once the blast beat train gets a rollin’, that’s when Blut Aus Nord slams the break on the riffs, and it creates a noticeable sound disparity, most notably on “Epitome V,” a song that encapsulates everything the band has been doing the last five years.

When 777 – Sect(s) is at its most desirable is when the tempo is slashed altogether, and the creepy tonality of the band’s riff choices are really brought to the fore. Such happenings make “Epitome II” and “Epitome IV” the real standouts here, engaging the listener in a soundtrack-like trance, practically devoid of vocals. The industrial and futuristic feel to these songs is something the band would be wise to explore down the road, as it totally eclipses the often frazzled and unfocused gaze of their earlier works.

Perhaps the proper antidote the overly-produced and processed black metal sounds emanating from Scandinavia, Blut Aus Nord may finally cut through the smoke with 777 – Sect(s). In terms of where this lands on the band’s catalog, it’s perhaps the first album that retains any semblance of cohesion. Such traits are often anathema to black metal bands like this, but maybe Blut Aus Nord are mellowing with age. Or getting smarter.

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