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CD Review: Blut Aus Nord – MoRT

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blutausnord mortOver time, the legendary yet shadowy French black metal act Blut Aus Nord has grown increasingly experimental. On MoRT, it has perhaps both lost its marbles and fallen into an abyss of sheer genius. The album has some of the most disturbing sounds you'll ever hear. From day one, the band had experimental tendencies. However, it has now erased its physical black metal aspects – buzzing guitars, vocal rasps – but kept its evil atmosphere.

When you first hear this album, you might think something's wrong with your CD (or digital files). The guitars are unlike any that you've heard before. At first, they might not even sound like guitars. They sound like seasickness – wobbly, queasy, discordant. I've been racking my brains trying to figure out how they got guitars to sound like this. Three possibilities come to mind – pitchshifters/harmonizers or other effects, some sort of fancy post-production, or playing guitars with tremolo systems set extremely loosely, so that the strings flop around. Whatever the case is, these aren't happy sounds.

Other methods are also mysterious. Are the drums real? Are they machines? They're cold and reverbed, slowly puttering around in odd time signatures, like Meshuggah with a barf bag. Vocals range from muttered sneers to distant singing to unholy howls swathed in demonic effects. Occasionally, the guitars break into discernible, haunting melodies. You'd think this would be comforting, but it's not. In such a bleak landscape, the appearance of something innocent is only disturbing (think of the small child that would show up for no reason in the Silent Hill video game). Ghostly whooshing noises flit around like the paranoid whip pans in The Descent, only in slow motion.

MoRT would have been a great soundtrack to that movie. Trapped in a cave, with no way out, and something lurking nearby – maybe? Hide sharp objects, put this on headphones, and prepare for the worst nightmare of your life.


Blut Aus Nord official website
Blut Aus Nord on MySpace
Candlelight Records

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