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Chaos, blandness and weariness - 35%

Mealann, November 19th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Debemur Morti Productions (Bandcamp)

Vindsval has been on the stage for 23 years now. He has pionieered the third wave of black metal by incorporating his eclecting inspirations, mostly industrial metal, into his dissonant, dark ambient layered, psychedelic and occult vision of black metal. Despite universal comparisons to Deathspell Omega, he is a player in a league on his own. Nobody gets close to what this man is capable of conjuring.

But everything has its limitations.

The second decade of 21st century will likely go down in history as sensory overload in which humanity had to face the issue of plentitude instead of lack thereof. This has vastly influenced what music sounds like, by changing what artists think or feel on a daily basis. One might assume that Vindsval transcends being in a sense. His artistic persona is as mystical and detached from Earthly realm as his music itself. It does not change the fact that his recent releases have too been affected by zeitgeist of this decade. Chaos, blandness and weariness.

The music is not as divine as it used to be back in 2012. Harmonies are still hauntingly dissonant, but there is no epicness to give contrast to them. Real drum playing (contrary to trademark BaN sampled drumkit) worked perfectly on Triunity, so I wouldn't call this a problem, but it certainly is a problem on this release. They feel overly simplified and the material loses its expected complexity. The interludes, titled in Greek, are of no intrinsic value, comparing to interludes on each previous albums, whether they used to be choral, keyboard compositions or dark ambient pieces. These are neither. Flat, dark ambient atmospheres with hints of linear, noisy effects. Don't add up much of the atmosphere, rather disrupt it.

Second, bland compositions. May be just my impression, because I usually like halves of BaN albums, but I can't give enough spins to get into most of the album tracks here. Same as with Codex Obscura Nomina four. Hats off to: Abisme, Chorea Macchabeorum, Ex tenebrae lucis. They are classic. They have memorable hooks and rhythms. Abisme feels very doomy, while the latter two are dynamic and hypnotic. This does not mean that the others tracks are not hypnotic. For example, Revelatio and Metanoia feel like a loaded washing machine with low motor power, which does the spins of the rotor, but each spin is hard and you can feel the machine choking. The same feeling accompanies listening to this new album. It feels tiresome. This was my first impression. I couldn't really focus, but I grew weary. Then I listened dozens of times more and I still feel weary when Metanoia is on. Impius grinds in a very narrow circle. It is the feeling when you return home after serious drinking, trying to maintain balance, while trying not to puke. It is (too) nauseating and confusing.

From positives: mixing of the album is immense. Few may complain about overcompressing, but combined with massive reverberation, creates a wall of sound never previously experienced in this project. Technical aspects are a prominent mark of this release.

To summarize, the issue with this album is the inspiration behind compositions, which fall flat both to previous releases and mixing of this material. Haunting and dissonant black metal with echoing, psychedelic textures. Nauseating circles and delving into hypnotic, spiral abyss of nightmares. Does this description sound like perfection? Certainly, but for true extent of such, one would have to reach for "The Work Which Transforms God" or "What Once Was... Liber" series. What we are dealing here is the opposite of stimulation. Perfect for those, who have too much energy and would want to lose some. Eventually for those, who seek understanding of their sleepless nights' paranoias.

After 777, there were Debemur Morti, Triunity and Henosis from MV3. All the other works make me feel like Vindsval is slowly losing the punch in what he conjures. Haunting motives are not as haunting as they used to be. There are hardly any epic motives. It's like the fire was burning down. Considering that Vindsval wants to release his music as plenty of other aliases, including The Meditant, 777, Yerusalem, etc, makes me think that he knows that he is drifting away from the core concept of Blut aus Nord.

I wish him all the best with his upcoming projects and decisions about.

Simple and repetitive but great ambiance. - 54%

MrMetalpants, December 21st, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Debemur Morti Productions (Bandcamp)

I'd like to start by saying how much I appreciated the ambiance and feel that this album invokes. From start to finish it is loaded with plenty of emotion. This is probably it's strongest quality and I'll leave it up to you to determine if that's enough substance to sustain a whole album's worth of material. For me, it was not. Let's dig in.

The writing here is respectable in that it makes so much out of so little. The songs have catchy tunes, like the opening lead on "Chorea Macchabeorum" but that lead gets reused and is the basis for the rest of the song. This happens often where a simple idea gets used as the core of a song. They benefit from writing short song lengths here because of the previous point (See "Abisme"). There's no frills or anything too flashy about it, and by extension that rings true with the rest of the writing. That opening lead sets a standard for the lead guitar for the rest of the album. They try to do a few half-assed solos, like on "Apostasis" which ends up doing more harm than good. The tones used aren't terrible, but the writing is. There are some interesting compositions on songs like "Revelatio" and "Abisme", but like what plagues the rest of the album, it ends up having not that much going on. That would make for a great ambient black metal release but it's trying to also be industrial so it battles itself. The most notable way is the guitars which we'll talk about in the next paragraph.

As mentioned above, the lead works best when setting a repetitive little lick over the chorus; In this area it exceeds. They can actually be the catchiest part of the song. The drums never really break out into their own, which here it totally works because the way they're so subdued helps make a lot of the industrial elements hit home. "Apostasis" is probably my favorite song on drums. Going back to the guitars, the rhythm section does just as good as a job of honing in the industrial elements they're going for. The tone specifically helps with it's droning effect. Now the vocals... The vocals are so nonsensical and unstructured that it is grating on my ears. No, not like on "Ex Tenebrae Lucis" where they're purposely trying to make tormented sounds to sound evil, I mean the discombobulated vocal "patterns". I get that they're trying to sound as evil as possible, like on "Impius" (Which does a great job at that). Maybe some people are into this but is frustrating to hear such a lack of regard for song writing structure in the vocal department (The irony of arguing about vocal song writing in extreme metal is not lost on me). "Metanoia" features some backwards vocals which is a fun shtick, but there's far too much of it on the whole album (That's a great song, by the way). There does come a certain point when the list of voices used matches the number of actors in a full-cast production of an American Gods audio book where it should just stop. Now with all that said, there are some interesting vocal parts, but you're better off just trying to ignore them and listen to the mood created. The song "Revelatio" has the best vocals overall.

Like I mentioned above, this album does an amazing job at setting the mood. The aforementioned "Apostasis" creates a dizzying world of anxiety and terror. A lot of the songs create chaotic emotions without being too chaotic in themselves, but rather evoke that feeling in you. I should note here that the production is poor. Not stripped-down and raw like Darkthrone, but produced well and then trashed. You can tell it's clean but made fuzzy and grimy in post-production. Reminds me of the production of another release I'm reviewing which is Desolate Shrine's latest. At the end of the day, I still give them props for really creating a world of emotion and having a unique style.

Favorite tracks:
--Abisme
--Chorea Macchabeorum
--Revelatio

Technical skill: 48% Originality: 73% Songwriting: 38% Structure: 62% Production: 50%

Groans in the Murk - 50%

psychoticnicholai, November 21st, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Debemur Morti Productions (Bandcamp)

Deus Salutis Meae feels like Vindsval and company trying to go back to the more demonic sounds of their experimental, quasi-industrial heyday in the early 2000's. However, the album in question doesn't capture the same kind of insidious magic that they had in those days. The style is there, but a lot of the substance is diluted and not much stands out. Sure, there isn't anything one would consider bad on here, but there's nothing of much good either. Deus Salutis Meae just feels like one long, murky journey through a musical marsh with snaking rhythms that could be doing a lot more to creep you out if they only picked up and stuck their heads above the water, alas they remained content to just slither underneath the mud, coiling around you, but never rushing dynamically, or presenting a threat.

A lot of this album only has one motive, that being to scare the piss out of you. However, it doesn't handle this as well as Blut aus Nord normally do. The soundscapes, which are often thick, rich, hellish, multilayered, bendy, and complicated on older albums, are much simpler here. On other albums, you'd have the guitars being extremely wild, going in all sorts of weird directions, changing pitch, and having much more variance to the movement of their rhythms. There was much more chaos overall. On Deus Salutis Meae, it seems like there's only one mode that most of these songs are in, which is off-time, down-tuned black metal murk with some vocals that are a distant, buried rasps. Ever so rarely, they shift to choirs. The songs involved have few dynamics and many of them sound extremely similar. Each song is usually a piece of muddy black metal that snakes around, but never does much, never picking up or going especially crazy. The whole album sticks to the same tone and never really gets a rise out of its listeners. A lot of these songs are usually examples of how much you can hear this plod on. Even if there are dynamics, they're so well hidden in this murk that I don't feel rewarded at all when I find them.

This is probably one of the weaker Blut aus Nord albums, The horror is so monotone throughout this whole album that it ceases to be terrifying and just ends up feeling drab and oppressive. The whole experience just feels too monotone for me to consider coming back to. There are a lot of times when you could get a really hellish soundscape going and Blut aus Nord just decide to keep playing at the same intensity, same tempo, and in the same tone. That makes this feel like a very flat album. Sure, it's murky, dark, and mysterious, but the layers, chaos, and insanity of something like The Work Which Transforms God are not at all present to similar amounts on Deus Salutis Meae. This album feels stretched out, and few ideas were put forward. There is something to these menacing rumbles that go on during these songs, but as a whole album, you really need more than just pure coiling darkness to lead people in. It sets a semi-workable atmosphere, but this album feels much less interesting and less detailed than anything Blut Aus Nord have released before. I am disappointed.

I know, it's not funny anymore... - 92%

DSOfan97, October 29th, 2017

Yeah I know, one more raving review that I write about a Blut Aus Nord album. It's not my fault alright? It's hard to even think about what's on Vindsval's mind or why I always end up liking everyone of his efforts so much. Deus Salutis Meæ picks up from where we were left with Codex Obscura Nomina. However while Codex had a much more simplistic approach and minimal aesthetics, the latest album is more eventful and busy with detailed guitar work, frantic drumming and an exceptional vocal performance, featuring Taysiah for the first time in 14 years.

The album features one introduction and two interludes with Greek titles to serve as bonds between the movements of the record. Right after δημιουργός Chorea Macchabeorum enters to destroy everything with a synth line that accompanies the raging guitars and bombastic drums. The two songs that truly impreesed me were Abisme and Revelatio (in that particular order). The latter is a riddle. Replete with odd rhythms and atonal guitars, not to mention the screeching vocals in the beginning. The former is absolutely reverend and religious in its two minute run, showcasing the best vocal performance on the entire album.

There were moments of slight frustration though that is not something peculiar. I have come across albums that I regard as perfect, flawless and eternal and Blut Aus Nord claim the creation and release of some of them. The final track Metanoia was good enough but I'd love some short of twist that never came such as a guitar melody or wailing clean vocals but I am probably asking for too much here. The rest of the album has some great moments but its entrancing themes leave no room for 'exciting' experimentation. Saturnian Poetry left me in awe when I first heard the ever changing flow of music, the epic intwertwining guitars and the all around grandiose orchestration. There is no need for all this in D.S.M. . The only thing that's needed is mesmerizing, hypnotic music and Blut Aus Nord are masters of that style. MoRT comes to mind when listening to this beast and so does The Work Which Transforms God two of the best releases this band has ever put out.

Another great thing about this album is the running time. I praised Throane' s debut last year for the exact same reason. Both bands knew exactly the duration that the album should have. Deathspell Omega did the same thing as well in The Synarchy of Molten Bones. Wintersun didn't. I am by no means comparing Blut Aus Nord to Wintersun, apart from the fact that while BaN crafted a short monster of an album, Wintersun fed us a long piece of grave boredom. *sigh* Metal nowadays leans towards the excessive side of everything and that could be harmful for the artist's integrity and creativity. BaN on the other side truly leans towards free and unconditional expression. Nothing is prohibited, that is the only rule and the one thing this band cannot control is their hunger for expansion towards every direction that looks interesting enough to explore. Oh, and their music. Don't raise your eyebrow, Vindsval said it himself: only at the very beginning the creative process is fully under control. After that, Vindsval rather composes by means of intuition than means of logical comprehension. This album is proof of that 'stream of consciousness' approach and it's out for you to listen and judge.

Deus Salutis Meæ is one more worthy addition to BaN's catalog and I'll be surely blasting it for quite some time. According to the band, two more releases are in the works. The one is Memoria Vetusta IV: Empyreus and the other is a mysterious release entitled La Lumiere Sous Le Monde. Until then, Deus Salutis Meæ is one of the greats and I cannot praise it enough for what it is even if that is not what I was exactly looking for. It could never be a 10/10 for me, but damn, did it came close? It surely did.

Favorite tracks : Chorea Macchabeorum, Abisme, Revelatio.

92/100.