Released: 2009, Candlelight Records
Where have you been all my life, Blut Aus Nord?
MEMORIA VETUSTA II is my introduction to the greatness that is Blut Aus Nord, this wonderful black metal band from France, and I am now totally inspired to check out their back catalogue.
I get the same feeling from this album that I got from listening to Primordial or Moonsorrow. They create the same kind of atmosphere – those dark, doomy yet soaring melodies that create a wall of sound that tells of emptiness and nothingness, while remaining as aesthetically rich as you could ever want your metal music to be. It is this paradox that I love.
The landscape of sound is so varied and yet so subtle that this is truly the record to which you light a candle, turn off the lights, and blast it at top volume in the murky dark. The keyboards are cunningly used to round out the sound without ever ever dominating the sound. The driving force is the drumming and the riffing, and so rare in black metal is the minimal and yet creative use of dissonant chording. This is by far the most melodic black metal I’ve ever heard, and so beautifully epic.
Even the vocals are hidden behind this swirling wall of sound, which is a pity since I reckon they would add a real bleakness to the emotionless drumming (a good thing!) and the black guitars. The minimalistic vocals remain somewhere slightly out of reach, ethereally moaning and screeching on another plane of existence, while the songs wind their long lonely way through haunted forests and cold deserted valleys, never quite providing a satisfactory resolution to the unholy melancholia that they have created.
I will definitely check out more of this band, starting with their highly rated first album, ULTIMA THULEE. I got into Moonsorrow via their TULIMYRSKY EP and Primordial via TO THE NAMELESS DEAD. MEMORIA II will be my stepping stone to Blut Aus Nord, and god damn if I’m not looking forward to it.