Blut Aus Nord has always been one to push the envelope with their brand of extreme Black Metal. Because of their determination to challenge themselves musically, they have released a very diverse catalog of metal ranging from traditional Black Metal to the almost unbearable 2006 release, Mort. As much as I tried, I could not stomach that album and still to this day question the existence of it's release. That being said, I was heavily concerned about the direction that 2007's Odinist: The Destruction of Reason By Illumination would take us. Based on the past several releases, I assumed that it would head down the same bleak path that Mort paved the way for. To my surprise, it is a return to true Black Metal form - resting somewhere between The Mystical Beast Of Rebellion and The Work Which Transforms God.
The intro sounds like it could be on a soundtrack of a Stanley Kubrick film. It is a short dirge with minimal instrumentation, but sets a great tone for the rest of the album. As soon as An Element Of Flesh kicks in, you are instantly reminded of the "return to form", as Blut Aus Nord blaze through this mid-paced destructive effort - demonstrating their most accessible material since 2003. Although there are still remnants of Mort present on this album (all the way through), they are kept at a minimum as actual song structures are prevalent. The next song, The Sound Of The Universe, continues the mid-paced action but steps it up a notch on the grim guitar riffs. Giving the feeling of ice running through your veins, Odinist hammers through in true Blut Aus Nord fashion. Unwilling to submit to any stereotypes, Odinist incorporates some of the most vicious melodies ever heard from this French outfit. Up to this point, the CD remains a mid-paced slugfest, but that becomes a hindsight to the sheer terror of the song structures and ice-cold direction of each song. Continuing on, A Few Shreds Of Though and Ellipsis, are the next weapons in this audio attack to be experienced. Although continuing with the same formula of the previous songs, it is still great to hear Blut Aus Nord back in top form. Mystic Absolu shows a change in the formula as it incorporates blast beats (in several spots), as well as heavier, harsher riffs that add a whole new dimension to the dynamics of the album. One of the greatest surprises is the final track, The Cycles Of The Cycles. With more blast beats, shifts in speed, and an overall aggressive nature, Cycles is the perfect album closer for this monumental Black Metal masterpiece.
Blut Aus Nord has once again raised the bar on innovation without compromising any influences from their previous efforts. I think it’s great that one of the worlds leading black metal acts can continue to captivate fans of traditional black metal while exploring new boundaries without hesitation. It's either hit or miss, but this time around Blut Aus Nord has landed a hit. Forget about 2006's Mort and dwell in the realm of Odinist - your Black Metal guide to audio terror.
About this Writer: David Loveless // Dave's early introduction to Metal was listening to records by Black Sabbath and Kiss. Discovering Metallica's Master of Puppets on record at the local public library turned his world upside down. After spending nearly 24 years in Japan and expanding his love for the International underground metal scene, Dave (and family) now resides in the US. The savage brutality of Extreme Metal brings out the "Grim Gaijin" in him.
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