Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti Productions)

Sunday, 12th October 2014
Rating: 9.5/10

The best is back. The prolific Frenchmen now offer their eleventh (!) full-length (amid another five EP’s and three split releases) with Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry, completing the Memoria Vetusta trilogy started way back in 1996. And what a conclusion it is! While many other works of stand-alones and album-series releases have been created meanwhile, it comes with great anticipation to cap off what, to many, is the best of the BAN trilogies.

A band wrought from strength of riff, ever-wandering guitar leads of skyward-reaching weirdness return anew. Riffs which twist and turn into dissonant and left-field notes, yet always seeming to resolve in eerily majestic and oddly soothing towers of sound, are BAN’s forte. Having widely used both electronic drums as well as acoustic, across their catalog, MVIII features a dynamite performance of drums au naturel, which lends an organic heft to the album, clearly in line with the album’s splendid artwork. The former works A-OK, but there’s little room to argue that the real deal isn’t superior…and on MVIII, fevered blasts and maniacal precision abound.

Instrumentally, BAN create complex emotions that pull in sometimes different directions simultaneously, yet it’s almost impossible to identify what, exactly, those emotions are. All we can tell is that it’s an almost alien sensation, dark as night with a radiant glow at the edges that somehow makes us feel smarter…and awesome. Yep, that’s my take, and I’m sticking to it. Then come the vocals, a vivid blend of black metal ferocity and almost holy-sounding washes of melody, further enriching the sound. Deep stuff indeed, highly melodic, and with a great balance of tempo, intensity and room to breathe – things are never stagnant.

Distinctly different in feel from their last full length 777 series, especially than the conclusion Cosmosophy (with its almost post-metal leanings). MVIII is a fitting culmination of their more recent, frenzied black metal works on the Liber EP series, meeting were they left off on the most excellent MVII from 2009, with its superb guitar melodies. Blut Aus Nord are a band without rival, peerless in the cosmic abyss of black metal. MVIII is a triumph, a must-hear, which of course comes as no surprise from such a notable band of their caliber.

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