When Vindsval, vocalist and guitarist with Blut Aus Nord, was once asked by whether he considered the band to be a black metal, he had this to say: “We absolutely don’t care about that. Black metal is a feeling, not a typical kind of riff, sound or attitude, and this feeling is the essence of our music.” It’s this shunning of genre conformity which has kept Blut Aus Nord sounding unique and fresh for over twenty years, pushing their sphere of black metal into new and exciting areas. Their most recent endeavour, Hallucinogen, sees the group reinventing old ideas in the potential start of a new era for the band.
Moving away from the crushing industrial motifs of their last release, Hallucinogen is like a deluge finally falling from a bursting cloud. The production is crystal clear, especially in regards to the glossy guitars and dream-like vocal/choral layers throughout. This clean approach to production really highlights the musical aptitude of Blut Aus Nord, being able to integrate a wide variety of sounds onto a single release without them ever becoming myopic. No track feels like the “post-metal” one or the “blastbeat” one; each cut is able to explore these ideas, and more, in one cohesive whole. The height of this eschewing of genre norms is probably ‘Haallucinählia’, an auditory middle finger to the idea of a standard black metal track.
Though a lot of the ideas presented here aren’t entirely new, it’s the way Blut Aus Nord have utilised them that makes this album a veritable case study in modern black metal. Hallucinogen is just that, a hallucinogenic, audibly morphing before you into something you just can’t quite word.
Hallucinogen is out now via Debemur Morti Productions and can be purchased here.
Words: Sean Elias