Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars
It has been 13 years since Memoria Vetusta I – Fathers Of The Icy Age. Of course, French Black Metal hermits Blut Aus Nord have released a string of legendary albums since, but this year has witnessed the coming of Icy Age’s sequel; Dialogue With The Stars. The sacred muddy distortion returns, yet this time around, the production is deceptively crisp; from the first intonation of warm electronic resonance to the ethereal percussion, this project feels slightly removed from the ears, a distant daydream.
Blut Aus Nord has crafted a masterpiece with Dialogue With The Stars. As stated before, this production lends an eloquence to every facet of these tracks, and yet it is their musical design and creative choices that above all support the immeasurable emotional value that emanates. The drumming, handled again by W.D. Feld, is appropriately artificial, allowing the illusory blast beats to achieve their abstract purpose, and the bass drum to be a perfunctory driving force. Feld’s laboriously flexible keys mix so very marvelously with band progener Vindsval’s six string direction. The result is a dynamic ever changing melodic surge, often evolving into heartbreaking themes, soaring yet weighted solos, and elaborate math rhythms. Every sonic choice feels precise, inspired, and above all, motivated.
This is doubtlessly the black metal album of the year, beating out fellow dreamers, Wolves In The Throne Room’s latest release. There are no diabolical themes played with here, as Blut Aus Nord are members of the maturing environmental camp. This brand of black metal is transportive, evocative of primal earthen panoramas, and mostly separated from trivial Human internals. We are ants in regards to this album, and yet a vital link in a majestic natural setting beyond. This is mostly felt in best songs “Disciple’s Liberation (Lost In The Nine Worlds)” and “The Formless Sphere (Beyond The Reason)”. This feeling is superior to the dismal and often hilarious demonic vaudeville act that is all too prevalent in this genre. This album endows regality and an odd softness to what is one of the darker corners of the aural world.
Running at just under and hour, this album is difficult in various ways to approach. It’s inability to play out completely in one sitting is not just due to the length, but the fact that the energy required is demanding. The uniform themes driving through the tracks are enhanced by creative flairs and differing personalities, but the magnitude of it all can be daunting after a half hour. Regardless, Dialogue With The Stars is one of the best albums of the year, and one that fully utilizes the best strengths of a severely untapped aesthetic.