(Andy Synn gazes into the abyss once more via the medium of the new album from Blut Aus Nord)
Why, you might ask, am I reviewing the new Blut Aus Nord album?
After all, you can already hear it for yourselves in full here, or simply wait until its official release tomorrow and form your own opinions.
Perhaps it’s because I just like to hear the (proverbial) sound of my own voice as I share my opinions online.
Perhaps it’s because I feel like I have something of interest to offer in my analysis that might help illuminate the album a little more.
Or perhaps it’s because, after listening to Disharmonium – Nahab so many times over the last few weeks this is the only way to purge these horrific visions from my mind.
Arguably even less “song-based” than its predecessor, the nine tracks (plus three chapter-marking interludes) which make up Nahab each represent a singular piece of a greater puzzle – some deeper, and darker, and more demonically-angled than others – hinting at the greater and more hideous whole which lies just behind the veil.
That’s not to say that they’re incomplete – if anything, the eerie, unnerving flow between these “songs” (a word which I use loosely) indicates an all-too-human method to the band’s madness – more that what they’re channelling is simply too vast an idea to contain (or comprehend) in a mere 44 minutes of music.
The fleeting glimpses we do get, however, should be enough to unsettle and unnerve even the most hardened of listeners, especially given the increasing (though not overwhelming) emphasis on bilious, barely-human vocals , with standout tracks like “The Endless Multitude” (whose moments of eerie calm do little to alleviate the encroaching, all-consuming horror), the mind-bending “Queen of the Dead Dimension”, and the arguably even more disturbing “The Black Vortex” all pushing the more psychosis-inducing vibe of their more recent work to even more insanity-inducing extremes.
Of course, the caveat to this is that, due to its more experimental and spontaneous nature, Nahab is, inevitably, an even more demanding listen than its predecessor, and thus also more difficult to analyse or quantify – at least, in normal, everyday terms.
And while my gut tells me that, overall, Undreamable Abysses remains the stronger album of the two (with at least one more record in this sequence yet to come) there’s no question that this latest incarnation of Blut Aus Nord – a band who have undergone a multitude of terrifying transformations and reinventions over the course of their almost thirty year career – have tapped into something truly otherworldly here.