Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blut Aus Nord - Cosmosophy

Now for a more serious review...

put a new spin on old Blut Aus Nord material from 2003, The Work Which Transforms God, and borrowed heavily from popular countrymates Deathspell Omega. I enjoyed the winding guitarwork, interesting dynamics, and even the minimal industrial elements. This album was a hit with me that really made me wonder where they were planning to go with the sequels.

The Desanctification was a bit different and featured more atmospheric, plodding tracks that were also heavier on the industrial elements. It had it's moments, but felt uninvolved at times.

Now Cosmosophy concludes the trilogy with dominant clean vocalwork. The plodding guitarwork and industrial drones of The Desanctification make a return and once again some listeners will be alienated by these elements and the lack of the whole black metal aesthetic. Others like me will be put off by the dominant and forced-sounding clean vocals, and the fact the tracks never really seem to go anywhere.

I went into this album expecting a grandiose, layered, and powerful conclusion to the '777' trilogy. Initially I can't say I was disappointed. "Epitome XIV" is well a well-conceived opener that builds atmosphere without stealing the thunder from the later tracks. "XIV" subtly builds on its own drones and it sounds like the track culminates without realizing it. This is a recurring habit of the tracks on Cosmosophy. They all seem to reach their apex without feeling like they've gone the whole way, leading to some disappointing build-ups.

It's not really bad since the journey is a decent one if you can handle the weak clean vocals. They reach their lowest point on the second track ("Epitome XV") which sounds like an ambient or synth spoken-word track for most of its six-minute span. To me it is frustrating, tough to get through, and really breaks immersion. An unnecessary waste of album space. There are some harsh vocals at times, most notably during the apex of "XVI." For the most part though, Blut Aus Nord stick to low-mixed cleans.

The production and drumming on here is as it sounded on The Desanctification and its predecessor. Clicky and a little off-putting in its electronicness. The guitarwork is still just as chromatic as you've come to expect from these guys, and the wonderfully atmospheric ascending / descending pattern they abuse is back. The instrumentation reaches a sort of climax on "Epitome XVII," which is also one of the catchier tracks on the album. The riffing is simple and easy to hum along to in its slow-paced, high-register development. "Epitome XVIII" is the darkest track on the album, borrowing from the later tracks on The Desanctification for it's drum beat and serving as the conclusion to the trilogy.

I found Cosmosophy to be the weakest of the three in the trilogy, but that doesn't mean it's a bad album. Definitely recommended if you enjoyed the other two and want to hear some (very) iffy clean vocals.

6.75 out of 10


1. Epitome XIV

2. Epitome XV

3. Epitome XVI

4. Epitome XVII

5. Epitome XVIII 

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