PICK OF THE WEEK: Blut Aus Nord continue warping black metal with stormy ‘Deus Salutis Meæ’

In the spring here on the East Coast of the United States, we get some fairly insane storms. People in the Midwest will be laughing since their entire houses get destroyed, so, sorry. But staring out at a violent storm cell, with swirling winds, chaos in the skies, and utter blackness pouring over what used to be a bright, promising afternoon is unsettling to some, but to me, it’s a season highlight.

I commonly think of this scene any time I indulge in French black metal institution Blut Aus Nord. Any record from them. That’s always been my takeaway from their tornadic black metal, a style that often comes off like a mix of darkness in the sky that mars the sun and threatens sanity. The band’s new, 12th record “Deus Salutis Meæ” (translated means “god of my salvation”) continues that storm-bursting ambiance. At 10 tracks and 34 minutes, it’s one of the most concise records in this project’s long history (Vindsval brought this project to life in 1994 after Vlad fell by the wayside). The music takes you on a journey into a vortex, one that transports you to a different dimension, even if that’s only in your mind. The band also has maintained its ridiculous level of creativity these 23 years, with the project morphing and folding into different forms, with this one spilling smearing, chilling black metal.

“δημιουργός” is a strange opener that is a haunting soundscape, with muffled voices, spilling toward “Chorea Macchabeorum” that slips right into warped growls and enrapturing melodies. Clean calls sit behind a wall of madness, feeling darkly spiritual, and then the song implodes, bleeding out into darkness. “Impius” has brain-warping guitars chewing right away, as well as odd howls that get into your bloodstream. Melodies warp and spin, while growls gurgle, the strangeness rises, and the growls disintegrate. “γνῶσις” is another ghostly interlude based on cosmic oddness and a spreading cloud of noise, heading right into “Apostasis” that tears its guts right out onto the floor. The guitar work sickens and causes vertigo, while the growls go beastly and gurgle blood, the melodies confound, and chants feel like they’re from another dimension. That leads to a final burst that’s downright demonic.

“Abisme” is slow driving and quite cold, sending freezing drizzle to coat your body. The singing is smeared in a dreamlike fashion, while a bizarre melody line snakes through the murk, leaving a haze of confusion. “Revelatio” erupts right away, as the guitars make their way through the tension before the melodies hit a dark groove. The song continues to fold in on itself, looping away and creating panic. Gravelly growls leave scrapes on the skin, while chants return and lift the song into another plane. “ἡσυχασμός” is a final interlude track, this one simmering in sounds and stinging the senses before “Ex tenebrae Lucis” barrels in with crushing playing, noises crackling, a scary ambiance firing off. Robotic voices blend into the mix, with a room-spinning assault of sounds, guitars lighting fires, and the singing numbing. The final moments are frigid and unsettling, ending as abruptly as possible. “Métanoïa” is a cloud of confusion, as vocals lurch out like a blaze from a furnace, and the ferocity levels are multiplied by a thousand. Vocals spill out, sounding like they’re spun backward (which makes this even creepier), while weird calls burst through the song, and the track comes to a violent, sudden finish.

Blut Aus Nord’s immersion into dark waters and cavernous mysteriousness continues more than two decades into their monumental run, and “Deus Salutis Meæ” is the next, harrowing chapter into their psychological horrors. This quick burst of black metal ferocity is infectious and otherworldly, a beast of a record that burrows into your brain and stays there. This band’s journey always steers into unexpected corners and crevices of the universe, and these 10 songs are unforgiving entries that stretch your mind even further than it’s been before.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/blutausnord.official/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/12-eshop

For more on the label, go here: http://www.debemur-morti.com/en/