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Blut aus Nord > What Once Was... Liber I > Reviews > ConorFynes
Blut aus Nord - What Once Was... Liber I

Blut Aus Nord - What Once Was... Liber I - 40%

ConorFynes, February 23rd, 2011

Since its origins arguably beginning with Bathory's self-titled debut back in 1984, the genre of black metal has since diverged into two contrasting schools. The first of these is primal, garage-recorded, straightforward and overtly anti-Christian in nature whereas the second school tends to take the sound of black metal and push it forward to see what it is capable of. French metal act Blut Aus Nord incorporates sounds of both approaches, giving a rough and blastbeat-saturated ride with their music, but also focusing mostly on making their music unique. With such distinct records as 'The Work Which Transforms God' under their belt, Blut Aus Nord has since garnered a reputation for taking the craft of black metal down some interesting, eerie alleys. While the band's 2010 album 'What Once Was... Liber I' does sport a relatively complex composition and technicality from the band, the end result is unfortunately a piece of work which lacks direction or tightness, and doesn't compare to the band's less orthodox material.

Available only on vinyl or as a digital download, 'Liber' is essentially one long song, divided into halves to make up each side of the vinyl. While the concept of a half-hour long song is quite promising to begin with, Blut Aus Nord unfortunately forgets to tie in the music into one cohesive piece of work, instead coming across as a seemingly perpetual flow of riffs, blastbeats and garbled black metal rasps. There are no particularly endearing riffs or musical ideas that stand out and carry on throughout the EP. Instead, Blut Aus Nord is content to compile riffs and musical ideas into something that begins feeling more like a cycle of riffs over any particularly well-calculated composition, regardless of how strong the riffs may be, which- given the style- certainly have merit to them.

The guitars here are the main attraction, bringing a new eerie and burstfire riff to the table with each new moment. However, they dominate the mix, leaving the drums feeling somewhat weak, and the bass practically inaudible. Worst of all are the vocals, which do manage to do a fairly good job of being traditional black metal snarls for the most part, but get very muddied and difficult to enjoy when multiple vocal tracks are introduced, making a vocal noise that is utterly indecipherable.

A somewhat weak album from this French black metal band, although it is not completely without its merit.