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Blut aus Nord > What Once Was... Liber II > Reviews
Blut aus Nord - What Once Was... Liber II

Architecture of the Nether - 100%

Mealann, November 20th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2012, 12" vinyl, Debemur Morti Productions

Years 2011 and 2012, in terms of Blut aus Nord releases, are dominated by "777" trilogy. Few are aware there is a darker trilogy lurking beneath the surface. Especially its second part, which was released only on vinyl. Let's shed some light onto this treasure.

We are dealing with two-sided, black metal EP that contains five tracks split into movements of two and three. This is a fact few are aware of, since no official track listing was ever released, neither a digital version of this release. Let's stick to "I-V" naming.

This EP may have a steep access curve, even for a Blut aus Nord enthusiast. The production is deep and deprived of much bass, especially comparing to parts I and III of the trilogy, which sound fuller and definitely grounded in basses. This release, however, feels stripped from many frequency ranges. First are basses, two are mids. What we are left with is carefully sculpted essence of the material. Very deep, distant and even ethereal. Of course not in the bright way.

First track is the longest movement in the entire Liber series. Rolling for 8 minutes, it allows the composition to slowly unveil and hypnotize the listener by repeating the basest of ideas that make up this release. A bit slower than what could be heard on first installment and freer of rash death metal influences.

It begins with an ensemble of damned voices talking with uncanny intonation, moaning and swirling around. It is hard to even assign them a spatial location in the mix. As if they were everywhere and nowhere at the same time. This ensemble of damned voices is the canvas that glues all the movements together. They differ between each part, mostly chanting an incoherent verse in repetition, but also eerily moaning and emitting other inhuman sounds. They create an utterly bleak, desolate and demented setup to what follows...

Metal part, contrary to the majority of Blut aus Nord releases (and peculiarly to "What Once Was..." series) mostly relies on relentless, uninterrupted blast beats that hurl though the entirety of pieces or at least major chunks thereof. When they stop to blast, they are arranged into non-linear, industrial madness Blut aus Nord had mastered in his early days.

This is a rare opportunity to witness the fullest extent of Blut aus Nord's take on classical black metal. It does not sound like Mayhem at all, because industrial and dissonant influences are very prominent here as well. It is minimalistic, fairly repetitive and most of all, incredibly dark and hypnotic. There are hardly any melodies to be found. The release feels as if leads were incapable of forming any coherent structure. They often play a dissonant chord that ends before the end of the bar. This happens multiple times in a row and even if they manage to transform into a melody, it is equally dissonant and crippled.

This release is hands down the architecture of the nether. Vast, hellish landscapes painted dark red and dark brown. Voices of damned souls that cannot be located. Relentless blast beats that occasionally turn to chaos. Seemingly random emanations of harmony which fail almost every time they assemble into a larger structure. An exception being the grand ending to part V and therefore the entire album, where after four movements of chaos and madness intertwined, some clarity is found. Still relentless and dissonant, but less and this rapid moment of rapture is the catharsis and release. The voices still chant, though, and we are left with clear intent, that nothing has changed, but ourselves.

This short EP is an experience. An experience worth experiencing. Fairly hard to grasp, but so is the entire project. The biggest pearl in Vindsval's portfolio to point.