Blut Aus Nord: 777 SECT(S)

Mon Jul 11 2011
Riff for riff, scream for scream, there’s still no band that sounds more unholy and tortured than Blut Aus Nord.  Since the terrifying 2006 masterpiece MoRT, which virtually did away with all concept of song, the band has grown more interested in subverting traditional musical structures, but the new 777 Sect(s) is a slight return to the more avant-garde assault that sets this band apart from the rest of the black metal parade of the past decade or so.

The first few seconds of the record could be just about anybody, but don’t let that discourage you; soon, the twisted, debilitating riffs and whining, venomous leads begin to swerve and vomit all over each other as they’re pummeled by W.D. Feld’s unrelenting percussive assault, and as soon as your head begins to pound and spin and it dawns on you that this is what happens only when you listen to Blut Aus Nord, the cacophony ends, giving way to an eerie, slithering synth and not much else.  This band does black metal better than almost anyone but will never be caged by the genre. 

“Epitome IV” is the perfect centerpiece to the album; brutal beginning, sickening, disorienting…um, verses?  Then, a lurching, math-prog breakdown ending in a queasy solo guitar interlude that sounds like a satanic music box jingle, broken by a howling, grinding attack designed to confuse and nauseate your senses--particularly Vindsval’s tortured vocal moaning which accompanies the outro.  It’s incredibly hard to follow, some of the most convoluted music Blut has yet conceived, but weirdly satisfying as it all comes together.

And where have these big metal anthems come from?  “Epitome II” is a wordless dirge possessed by a soaring--if still disturbing--sonorous theme, and the final track (“Epitome VI”) is a plodding instrumental that you could almost envision Mogwai playing.  It’s a puzzling end to an exhausting album, letting you off easy but leaving you with a desire to put yourself through it again.
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