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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.