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Mütiilation > Vampires of Black Imperial Blood > Reviews > Traumawillalwayslinger
Mütiilation - Vampires of Black Imperial Blood

Majesty death has claimed the lethal daylight - 100%

Traumawillalwayslinger, April 2nd, 2024
Written based on this version: 1995, CD, Drakkar Productions (Limited edition)

French black metal is very influential and infamous within the black metal genre. They had a very strong and distinctive rawness to them that not many bands were doing at the time. If you think bands like Bruzum, Darkthrone, and Gorgoroth are raw you haven’t heard any of the early French black metal bands. Many French bands would be early pioneers of the style that is known as raw black metal. Essentially carrying out the traditional style of black metal, but instead, it just suffocates you in pure raw production making the early Norwegian scene sound clean. And at the circle of this, you had the LLN. Also known as the The Black Legions (Les Légions Noires). They are hands down the most well-known collection of French black metal bands. These guys were focused on creating an absolutely dismal and raw take on black metal that is still worshipped. And at the forefront you had Mutiilation. The first one in the LLN to put out a full-length, and easily the best band out of the LLN in my eyes.

Now on to the actual album itself. This album screams melancholy and utter filth. This is almost 60 minutes of pure primitive black metal done in the rawest of ways. If you are a casual or beginner in black metal, then nine times out of ten you won’t like this on the first listen. And that’s the point of this album. It’s meant to cripple your ears, and it’s meant to make you hate it. This is not an album or band many people enjoy. It’s an acquired taste that might take multiple listens in order to fully grasp this record.

However, I wasn’t like that. Right from the start I immediately fell in love with its rawness and simplicity. It was unlike anything I heard from black metal at the time. I was already obsessed with bands like Marduk, Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, and every other benchmark black metal band. But when I first heard this album it blew me away. It took things to a much more profound and raw sound that sounded absolutely blistering.

On to the music. In the early days of Mutiilation, there were two individuals running the show before it became a solo project. One of those members was the bass player Mordred. Not much is known about this man but I always remember his face and how goofy he looked on the album cover and in other photos. He also had a very creepy feel in those photos as well. Regardless his bass playing is raw and vicious. The bass is surprisingly well-heard from time to time in this album. Considering just how ungodly raw everything is, the bass has its moments to shine. Especially in one of the highlights “Ravens of My Funeral”

The other member and the sole remaining member of this band is of course Meyhna’ch. He plays drums, vocals, and guitars on this album. And his work is nothing short of incredible. The songwriting, riffs, and tormented vocals are extraordinary. While everything is extremely simplistic and bare-bones he still makes things interesting and memorable. There’s a good amount of tempo changes as well so it’s not just blast beats 24/7. One of my favorite examples is in the song “Eternal Empire of Majesty Death”. This song is filled with slow and creepy passages. The slow and doomy tremolos sound really fucking ominous and weird I always feel dread when I hear them. It complements the double bass really well. There’s also a lot of energy and passion to be found here that ups the music.

Things may get sloppy or inconsistent but it’s the human inconsistencies that make this album all the more pure. Nothing is edited out, nothing is overly polished or produced. This is the realest thing you could get in black metal. And that’s why I love it. It doesn’t sound like some fucking robot or lacking in the energy department. Nowadays you can edit out every single little flaw in music. Which makes a lot of modern metal sound like fucking dog shit. And to go even further this album is so raw and minimalistic. In the song “Under Ardailles Night” there’s a profound amount of static in the background for a majority of the song.

Let’s get to the guitars now. They make up a major part of the dominating force in this album. And for good reason. This album is littered with vampiric tremolos and diverse tempo changes. The riffs can be slow and creepy, and in another section, it can be quite intense and barbaric. The repetitive nature is there and profound like in most black metal. But it’s not overly repetitive. There’s a lot of variation between riffs and sections. Adding to that overall evil and creepy atmosphere. If there was an album that I could use to describe vampires, specifically the film Nosferatu. It would be this album.

The drums are good and very chaotic. And the sloppiness makes it even more chaotic. There are a lot of switch-ups and fast blast beats to be found here. Along with some slower and more double bass sections. The drums are also very loud in the mix. The production of this album is iconic for being extremely raw. Yet you can hear everything decently well. So it’s a good raw production that makes the album sound unique and instantly memorable. I also find it funny that all the songs have real drums except for “Born Under the Master's Spell”

This album also has a more melancholic tone to it. Making Mutiilation a great influence when it comes to DSBM. It’s not a DSBM album by any means. But it is one of those first albums that began flirting with these miserable lyrics and depressive atmospheres. A strong example is the song “Ravens of My Funeral”. For the most part, it’s a more mid-paced song. But its lyrics and vocals make it all the more depressing.

My favorite aspect of this album is Meyhna’ch’s vocals. They are these extremely high-pitched shrieks and miserable wails. He also adds in some whispers and lower growls every now and then. His lyrics are also vampire and Transylvania-obsessed. It’s not just satan 24/7. Instead, you get lyrics about despair, vampires, and Transylvania. Overall this is a perfect example of black metal vocals done right.

When it comes to favorite songs it easily goes to the opening song “Magical Shadows of a Tragic Past”. It’s the most memorable song and the longest one clocking in at 10 minutes. It opens up with these distinct open-note guitar parts that I recognize each time I hear it. It also has the most distinctive riffs and drums across the whole album. If I’m not in the mood to listen to this album in its entirety, I always come back to this track.

In conclusion, this is one of my favorite black metal albums EVER. This has everything I love about black metal. The emotion, the rawness, and the pure hellish riffs. This is not the rawest Mutiilation would get by any means. But this is where the songwriting and music is at its peak. If you’re looking for a raw black metal band with flawless discography Mutiilation is the band to go for. If you want a really dismal and raw feel to your black metal. Listen to this immediately. A perfect album in my eyes.