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Black Imperial Blood (Travel) - 88%

Noctir, September 23rd, 2011

Black Imperial Blood (Travel) is the fourth Mütiilation demo, and the final one before their first full-length album. Released in the autumn of 1994, this represented the final stage of development for much of this material. All but two of the songs on this cassette ended up on the L.P. and even those that did not make the cut (for whatever ridiculous reason) were on later reissues.

The production is very similar to Vampires of Black Imperial Blood, being rather grim and lo-fi. It certainly suits the music, and the low quality does not have an overly negative impact on the ability of the songs to conjure up particular moods. In fact, the under-produced sound compliments the raw and primitive style of music. The vocals are a little high in the mix, a problem that would remain even for the album that followed, but it does not really detract from the atmosphere. As for the guitars and drums, they seem to be just right, so there are no complaints there. The guitars have kind of a thin sound, not exactly in a good way, but it is only a minor issue.

Regarding the music, it is not very dissimilar from the versions that appear on the full-length. While the crude Burzum and Darkthrone influences remain, Mütiilation had firmly established their own identity by this point and the songwriting lacked the awkwardness that often plagued things before. The pace is a little slower, in most cases, and the songs are slightly longer as a result. This does not drastically alter the atmosphere, but adds to the dreary nature of the material. In the case of "Under Ardailles Night" and the title track, it is enough to make the songs much more sombre when compared to the later versions. Odd how a subtle touch can affect the music. The guitar melodies are bleak and melancholic and evoke feelings of pure misery and hopelessness. These sounds are capable of inspiring the loss of blood by candlelight or a solitary journey into the depths of the autumn forest, in search of the perfect tree to hang from.

Upon close inspection, Black Imperial Blood (Travel) seems to be superior to the Vampires of Black Imperial Blood album. While the material is essentially the same, the slower pace enables the tracks to take on an added sense of morbidity and despair, which makes all the difference in the world for the listener's state of mind. For anyone that is a fan of the first Mütiilation album, seek this out and experience these songs in their proper form.

Written for

Prepare for the glorious evil time - 89%

DaBuddha, December 28th, 2005

This Mutiilation demo mostly showcases songs that were later on Vampires... but these are the original versions, and I have to say, I think I like these better.

The opening song, Magical Shadows of a Tragic Past is brilliant, simply beautifully ugly BM in a way that sounds so obscure and almost "cellar dwelling." The sound quality is good on this song, as it is on the entire tape, and this helps to bring out all the colors (or lack thereof) in the music. The version of this song that appears here I believe is far superior to the version found on Vampires... simply because it just seems so much more evil. The drums are also a real highlight to this song, using a lot of double bass fills that weren't included on the full length. Clocking in at around 10 minutes, this is definately my favorite song on this demo, but that doesn't mean that the other songs are slouches, not by any means.

Under Ardailles Night is certainly a real treat too. It has a guitar solo about half-way through the song, which doesn't really add or take away from the music, but it's just there. Amateurish may be a good word for the solo, but nonetheless it's pretty good, but I'm not sure it fits with this music. Black Imperial Blood (Travel) is also an excellent piece of BM history, even being covered by Xasthur on the Nocturnal Poisoning album. Purely instrumental, it emphasises the real playing ability of Mey'nach and his group of BM terrorists.

If you can find this, by all means, buy it, you won't be dissapointed. It's extremely hard to find, as is all LLN releases (except for newer Mutiilation material), but it is well worth a listen. Just don't spend 200 dollars on ebay for a copy of it.

Mütiilation's best work - 95%

DuskLord, May 27th, 2004

This demo is what got my attention towards Mütiilation. 42 minutes of total depression and hatred with raw haunting vocals creating a hateful and depressing atmosphere... Just listen to the song Black Imperial Blood's should-I-say "humming" vocals in the beginning. Haunting and sick! Excellent and overly distorted guitar sound with lots of unique-sounding melodies... The drumming is like on other kult-Black Legions-releases, it's a bit amateurish but it fits in the mood. Lots of tempo variations, this time I mean it in a good way. I really can't praise this demo in the way it deserves to be praised.

Overall a very unprofessional, dirty-sounding, depressive, raw and grim black metal kult-masterpiece.

+ Ultra-painful vocals...
- ...which sometimes blocks out the other instruments nearly 100%
+ Has that "Black Legions"-feeling all over.
+ Excellent demonstration that melodic bm can still be raw and grim as hell.
- Guitar solo on "Under Ardailles Night". Solos just don't fit in with raw and grim bm.

Standout tracks : Magical Shadows Of A Tragic Past, Black Imperial Blood, My Travels To Sadness, Hate & Depression.

I can't recommend this title enough for anyone who doesn't mind very lofi-sound in BM. Hail Mütiilation!