BLUT AUS NORD – Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars (2009)

Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars If, years ago, I were to make a list of words which describe what Blut Aus Nord’s sound would be like in the future, I can safely say that “clean” (and all synonyms) would be at the bottom of the list. But the band have been steadily refining the murky rawness of their sound (best exemplified on the 2003 album The Work Which Transforms God), and now, with Memoria Vetusta II, the list has been subverted, and “clean” (and all synonyms) now reside near the top.

There is no better proof of this than listening to Memoria Vetusta I (which was released ten years ago) and Memoria Vetusta II back to back. The first Memoria Vetusta is marred by the typical uber lo-fi black metal production. Whether or not an album can work with a lo-fi production like this depends entirely on the energy and aims of the music. If, as is the case with Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger, the production exists merely to facilitate an atmosphere that the music does not effectively conjure, well, then you’ve got yourselves a crappy album. If the opposite is true, and the production augments or enhances the atmosphere in some way (as is the case with Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal), then the album can actually be damn good. Now, with this polarity established, Memoria Vetusta I falls somewhere near the middle: not bad, but not entirely memorable either.

Memoria Vetusta II, with its emphasis on clarity and detail (rather than a lack thereof), calls to mind not Darkthrone, but instead, latter-era Enslaved or Nachtmystium (both of whom released excellent albums last year). But Memoria Vetusta II is, at times, both more ferocious and more placid than either of the aforementioned bands. And no, that’s not as paradoxical a statement as you’d think; anyone familiar with the early Opeth albums will know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you’re a metal fan of any capacity, you need to get this album. It’s a hypnotically powerful recording, and one that I’m sure will wind up on the year-end lists for 2009. And speaking of which, 2009 is shaping up to be a fucking great year for metal, and it’s only the beginning. We’ve already got a wonderful EP from Wolves In The Throne Room (with a full length follow-up due in May), as well as a totally unexpected masterpiece from Iceland’s Solstafir, and now Memoria Vetusta II from Blut Aus Nord. I can barely contain my excitement for what might await the community in the coming months.

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One Response to “BLUT AUS NORD – Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars (2009)”

  1. […] album that’s different. It’s not that it sounds clean, like recent efforts by Absu or Blut Aus Nord. It sounds modern. And therein in lies the difference. The guitars are weightier and slightly more […]

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