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Blut und Krieg - 80%

Noctir, September 24th, 2011

Originally released in cassette format via Majestic Union, in March 1996, Blut und Krieg is the first full-length album from Moonblood. This German Black Metal band had recorded countless demos and rehearsals during the first couple years of their existence, yet took an astonishing amount of time to release a proper L.P., especially considering how much material they had written. The band displayed just how dedicated they were to the old school mentality by releasing their material on cassette and vinyl, exclusively, and this album was no exception. There is something respectable about that, even if it hindered their ability to reach a broader audience. Just the very fact that they did not care about limiting their fan following told something of the members.

Getting into the band through a handful of demo cassettes that I had received from a friend in Germany, it took a little time before I was able to come by a copy of this album. When I did, it came in the form of a burned CD with a xeroxed insert. Obviously, this was a copy of a bootleg to begin with, which just goes to show how far some people had to go to acquire Moonblood releases. Sometimes, people show great enthusiasm for certain cult bands that are nothing more than products of their own hype, but this band actually deserved the dedicated following that they had amassed and it speaks well of them that listeners would go to such lengths to obtain and spread their music.

The brief intro includes strange sounds accompanied by the toll of a funeral bell. It is not as eerie or morbid as one might expect, but it does create an odd effect. As "In a Bloody Night of Full Moon" begins, one is immediately reminded of Burzum's "Det Som En Gang Var". It is mostly the result of the synth melody, but the music is not far removed from the same type of style as the aforementioned track. It is mid-paced and possesses an epic feeling, which is no surprise considering some of the bands that have influenced these Germans. The sound is very rough and lo-fi, with high treble for the overall mix. It is not so much the guitar tone, but the combination of guitars, synth and vocals (which are a little too loud) that has the potential to cause ear pain if listened to on headphones. The song never manages to break away from the Burzum vibe and establish itself, which is rather strange considering the skill of the musicians involved. Either way, it is not a bad track to open with and sets the tone for what is to come.

"Shadows" is an interesting track, though it does not fully realize its potential. The main theme is an average, mid-paced riff that is not particularly impressive. This song's saving grace is the presence of a brilliant tremolo melody that is interspersed throughout the piece, creating a mournful atmosphere. These riffs cut through you like icy winds, but the arrangement of the song lessens their impact, to an extent. The song would have been better off with this as the primary motif and the other riffs playing a less dominant role.

The next song is "...And Snow Covered Their Lifeless Bodies", which starts with a sombre melody that is accentuated by the subtle use of a clean guitar passage as well. The main riff is sorrowful and imbues the listener with a sense of loss. There are other riffs that hint at some sort of hope, perhaps only as a contrast to the misery that currently lurks within; almost like some fading memory of a distant past. As with the previous song, the atmosphere is no consistent, with the more upbeat melody sort of killing the dark vibe. All the harsh production and necro vocals in the world cannot maintain a pitch-black feeling if the songwriting is so schizophrenic.

"My Evil Soul" is another song from their first rehearsal tape, and it is a little more straightforward. The formula is rather standard, including several elements found in the early Darkthrone material. It is fast-paced, for the most part, but does not inspire much feeling. The riffs are not altogether bad, but it seems that the band really put forth no effort to make their first L.P. something special. There are much better songs, on the various recordings that they had made, that they could have included.

The title track begins in a very similar manner to the previous song, with an introspective and melancholic intro that leads to some mid-paced riffs that sound, in part, inspired by Bathory. The atmosphere is not as dark as one would hope, but still quite solid. Had they opted to not use the synth, the song would be a little better. All in all, it gives off kind of a subdued feeling, as if the band is holding back.

"Kingdom of Forgotten Dreams" features a cold tremolo melody that is more in line with what many would expect. The howling vocals suit the despondent vibe and add to the general impression of misery that the song summons forth. At one point, everything slows down and as the woeful guitars convey a sentiment of mourning. This miserable track is one of the highlights of the album and would have been better suited to be placed earlier.

This is followed by "Under the Cold Fullmoon", a song that combines epic melodies with cold and mournful riffs, creating an atmosphere of darkness that there is no escape from. Everything about this track is exactly as it should be; the fast tremolo riffs that carry a sense of urgency and suffering, working their way into your subconscious like knives made of ice. The drumming blasts right along, buried at an appropriate level in the mix and serving only to keep time, never distracting from the guitars. The vocal performance is dead on, as well, adding to the raw and hateful feeling. This is the true gem of the album, and it showcases the type of songwriting genius that the Moonblood is capable of.

The final proper track is "I Am All", beginning with an epic build and then introducing a really incredible tremolo riff that possesses a feeling of pure evil and instills a sense of horror in the weakened heart of the listener. Again, the hatred and cold bitterness of a misanthropic being comes across and consumes all in its path. The vocals sound particularly enraged, adding to the overall intensity of the song. As it ends, one gets the notion that, rather than this being the full assault, Blut und Krieg is but a harbinger of things to come.

Despite my personal affinity for for this band, it would appear that the album falls short of what it could have been. It features some really good songs, but also some less-than-stellar ones. How "Nightly Mass", "The Winter Falls Over the Land" or "On Cold Wings" did not make the cut is a mystery to me. The album also could have benefited from an altered arrangement, as the strongest material seems to arrive at the end. Blut und Krieg is a solid album, one that includes great songs like "Under the Cold Fullmoon" and "Kingdom of Forgotten Dreams", but I cannot rid myself of the idea that Moonblood could have done even better, with a little more time and effort being put into this.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

Fairly good epic black metal. - 80%

Taliesin, February 13th, 2006

Moonblood is of course probably primarily known for their dedication to kvlt practices like releasing only tapes and vinyl and also releasing many rehearsals with varied productions. This is their first full length release (though most rehersals are the length of an album), and is probably their best, as the later release "Taste Our German Steel," featured a different sound with a more straight forward black metal approach and with an annoying drum sound. On this the production is pretty much perfect for underground black metal, with drums lower in the mix and highlighting the guitars and vocals. The vocals themselves are between Nocturno Culto and Darken, a kind of rasping croak that at times goes into a harsher scream. They are effective, although not exactly the best I have heard.
The guitar riffs are much more complex then most would give credit to, and they have nice differences. Some have a more lead approach with folky otherworldly riffs that stretch on for a while, while others have a more epic Graveland-eque feeling, and yet others are more of the punky type sound. The best in my opinion are the folkier more emotional riffs, which have a much better feeling with the production. When they attempt the Graveland epic riffs the murky production unfortunatly doesn't work as well, though the atmosphere is still felt.
Moonblood seems to be going for a more medieval war-like feeling on this release, and they suceed fairly well, particularly when you can hear highlighting riffs, and I can imagine that perhaps with a better production the more Viking elements would have worked perfectly. As it is, while excellent this release has many faults, which is unfortunatly what one generally feels about nearly every Moonblood release.
Despite this, this album often suceeds, and is perhaps their best release as it brings images of death and war to a listeners mind. Like others have said the later half is much better than the first half, with a better use of keyboards and clean guitars.
Like all Moonblood releases you'll only find this as over-priced bootlegs or on a good file sharing server. I'd suggest finding this if you can and don't mind a lesser production.

Epic album but a bit too repetitive - 75%

KayTeeBee, October 23rd, 2004

This has to be one of the most epic black metal album's I've ever heard. When I listen to this album, I can easily picture an epic medieval battle, without a problem. Actually, that's pretty much the only thing I pictured when I listened to this (expect when I heard the Intro). The riffs are a bit too repetitive though. As an example, the song "Shadows" is 7:36, and it contains only one or two riffs, and when you have vocals that are pretty boring and repetitive, it gets boring pretty fast. The ambience that's provided in this album is great though, the Intro (called Midnight) make me think of a village at midnight, and like a war is about to come up. The drums in this are pretty weak, sometimes barely audible, or most of the time just boring, and too repetitive. The lack of drum fills really affects the album. The drummer could at least have put in a few drum fills here in there, to vary from the usual "meh, so-so" drum riffs we're used to hear in black metal.


Since most of the riffs are repetitive, I felt like all the song were stretching and never ending. What I'd like to see is more riffs in the songs. What Moonblood seems to do is take a riff, and make a whole song out of it. They could at least add more keyboards or leads to shake thing up, but nope. This album only concentrates on simple riffs and simple drums. Because of that, the riffs also feel like they were made in two seconds. About the vocals, they're ok. Nothing amazing, but not horrible either. The vocalist is always doing harsh vocals, some clean vocals with some acoustic guitar in the back would be nice to give me a little break from what i'm used to hearing.

This album is epic to say the least, but its riffs are too repetitive, which makes the songs feel like they'll never end. It's a strong album, but most fans will probablly find it too repetitive.

This is classic for a reason - 83%

Sacraphobic, August 25th, 2004

The first image conjured up in my mind as I listen to this album, is one of a battlefield. A battlefield on a cold night, after every warrior has perished. Every warrior but one, a wounded victor of the dark side, who awaits a cold death under the moonlight.

Moonblood have been one of the most consistant black metal bands in history, and this is perhaps their crowning triumph. Their debut full-length simply oozes bleakness - the epic, folkish melodies are drawn out over (generally) mid-paced drumming to produce a hypnotic atmosphere, conjuring up a vast, spacious, snow-covered landscape. Gaamalzagoth, despite the frankly stupid name, is a great and distinctive vocalist. His ugly shrieks give the album a push down towards hell.

Complaints about the album's production (other than the volume-changes) are undeserved in my opinion - indeed, the trembling, droning lead-guitar tone in particular strengthens the sense of other-wordliness this recording attempts to induce.

I find the second half of this album more interesting than the first, and although this is just a subjective note (perhaps an unusual one among fans of this release?) and isn't too substantial, it is perhaps why this doesn't quite manage to get the perfect rating. Shadows, for example, although not bad, is quite weak (has an almost punkish vibe in places, which irritates me) compared to the magnificent title track and those after it. Moonblood's ub3rkvltn3ss is also annoying, but doesn't have a conscious effect on my score.

This is the perfect album for people who love Burzum's BM recordings and Darkthrone's "Transilvanian Hunger", but are sick of derivative clones, and long for something that reaches the limits of epic and coldness while still being fairly unusual. Highly recommended.

And the snow covered lifeless bodies - 100%

NightOfTheRealm, May 21st, 2004

Where has Moonblood been all my life? It has been six years since BLUT UND KRIEG was unleased upon the world by the German master of black metal (No, not Herr Goat Opyros. Lol), Occulta Mors.

I almost feel as if I shouldn’t review this album at all, my reason being that if you haven’t discovered Moonblood on your own, you probably have no business cranking out the unholy epic black symphony anyway. Hah!

Without a doubt, BLUT UND KRIEG is one of the top 10, hell, maybe even top 5 black metal albums of all time. Ugly, raw, and brutal, yet at the same time melodic, epic, and beautiful, Moonblood embodies all the greatness once held by bands such as Darkthrone and Burzum in their most brilliant and glorious moments. Everything about this album is excellent. The guitar tone sets the mood for the entire album with a fuzzy, booming drone that envelops the listener. Try listening to Moonblood through a very good pair of headphones, and I guarantee that you will be sucked in! That’s what I was advised to do upon my first listen, as the first notes of “In a Bloody Night of Fullmoon” hit my ears as a total fucking deathmarch. This song shatters all definitions of what is epic. There is an etherial presence here, something larger than the music itself. Moonblood is just fucking sinister and evil. Occulta Mors’ vocals are the perfect kind of demonic rasp over the thick, doomy riffs to set the atmosphere of the album as an evil, anguished trance tinged with sorrow, hatred, and suffering. All songs on the album play upon these various themes to different degrees, but the true masterpiece on this masterpiece album is the nine minute long “...and Snow Covered the Lifeless Bodies.” Det Som En Gang WHO? Fuck, do I love that song.

My paltry words here cannot do any sort of justice to this most excellent piece of work. Moonblood – BLUT UND KRIEG defies adequate description. One does not mearly listen to this album; one must experience it. Totally fucking essential.

(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, December, 2003)

Something different; something harsh - 74%

stickyshooZ, May 21st, 2004

What Blut und Krieg has to offer us truly is a bloody war of epic black metal. This is probably one of the worst produced black metal albums I've heard, but it's nothing to worry about, because it actually improves the atmosphere of the music. It's got a bit of a Darkthrone production feel, except below the Darkthrone standard for recording. The vocals are demonic, icy, and raspy. This is the kind of voice you'd expect to hear from a chilling undead wraith, or a demon of the sort - harsh and bloody.

The guitar riffs, to say the least, are quite simple. However, everyone should know that simplicity doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. The guitar sound is very melodic and crunchy. The riffs are consistent, but not to the point where it's repetitive. Thankfully the drums aren't just a bunch of blast beats and random pounding.

Although nothing special, the drums are very steady and do a fine job at keeping the rhythm fills. There is plenty of mid-paced snare and cymbal to go around for the drumming. The bass playing is nothing special either, it just does its job at gluing the guitar and drums together to complete the cold and luster mesh of dark music. If there were an album to represent the essence of a demon, this would be it. This album shows what black metal is all about - dark, chilly, evil music.

Pick this up whenever you can if you feel up to trying something truly harsh. This album is not for the weak.