Blut Aus Nord is an exemplar black metal band, always forward thinking, never being confined by the close-mindedness of the genre. Through the years, the entity led by Vindsval, has been changing its style from one record to the next. At one moment they appear as an excellent, straightforward atmospheric black metal band, and in the next turn they unleash a dark ambient masterpiece. Blastbeats or repetitive e-drums based progression, it makes no difference for Blut Aus Nord, who have always been able to release works of high quality, regardless the style of music they choose to explore.
Deus Salutis Meae, translating to God of My Salvation, comes at a strange time for the band. Blut Aus Nord released the third part of the Memoria Vetusta trilogy in 2014, with Saturnian Poetry, reaching a creative peak when it came to their black metal self. Before that, they released a trilogy of dark ambient/industrial albums in 777, which also found them on top of their game regarding their more experimental aspects, perfecting a vision that was introduced with The Work Which Transforms God.
A very intriguing aspect of Blut Aus Nord has been the non-linear transformation of their sound, which allowed them to complete embrace or disregard the progression of their discography. When Memoria Vetusta III was released, the band left behind all of the dark ambient leanings and instead moved completely into black metal. It is that commitment to transformation that really separates them and makes them an entity of many faces. That is the mentality they go with for their new album as well, which finds them setting up a new path, taking into account the past but also covering much new ground.
It is a fairly different album, mainly due to its intricate parts. The black metal sound and ethics always remain at the heart of Blut Aus Nord, and it is what prevails in all the different manifestations of the band. Either if it is just an aura to veil the music under, or a more traditional approach it is the one constant found in their work. The dissonant edge of the genre still makes an appearance here, providing the momentum for “Apostasis” and the cyclothymic nature of “Revelatio,” where the lead work becomes schizoid and the tempo takes a lightning fast approach.
The divergence in Deus Salutis Meae comes in the form of the death metal infusion alongside the industrial backbone. As the record features many of the elements that moulded the sound of 777, the band uses the dark ambient methodology to boost the atmospheric touch of the record, creating a narrative cohesion through the shorter intro/outros and interludes of the album, while at the same time forging the rhythmic patterns in the industrial mindset. Mechanized sounds, coupled with razor-sharp synths lead the onslaught, on top of which the death metal weight can rest. The assault begins quickly with “Chorea Macchabeorum” which shows the new shape Blut Aus Nord take, a mechanized, dark death metal force, which oozes with the neo-classical perspective found in acts like In Slaughter Natives. The riffing reflects that fact, with the lead work creating a vortex of inharmonicity, which takes on early Slayer characteristics, or avant-rock concepts influenced by Andrian Belew’s days with Nine Inch Nails.
This addition works tremendously with the ritualistic element present in the music of Blut Aus Nord, making for a great combination. The industrial spine, the dark ambient background, alongside the black metal elements and the clean chants build a hellish, ceremonial-like illusion that slowly descending into the abyss. The final touch in this explosive mix is the doom qualities that Blut Aus Nord explores, where the slower pace takes over. “Abisme” is a prime example of this mentality, taking on a psychotropic doom metal element, which creates an otherworldly experience.
As it has been the case in the past, Blut Aus Nord continue this process of expansion and experimentation. As rebellious as ever, they once again roam into new territories, retaining a core identity but enriching it further with new additions. It is great to see a band going strong for more than 20 years and still being unwilling to settle for anything less.