Originally written by Jordan Campbell
It’s no secret that Blut Aus Nord has been on an absolute creative tear over the the past few years. After Odinist‘s baby steps, Memoria Vetusta IImarked a glorious emergence from the filth-caked depths of MoRT. That album saw Vindsval re-embrace Blut Aus Nord‘s inverse identity, unleashing a hyper-melodic fury that many thought had been lost forever.
A scant two years later, Blut Aus Nord dropped news of a planned trilogy, prefixed 777. Now, trilogies (or even sequels) in heavy metal are typically just window dressing. No disrespect to Absu, but the only tangible thematic connection between the first two entries in their ongoing “self-titled trilogy” is the cover art. Exodus‘ Atrocity Exhibitions sound like typical modernExodus albums, with only their titles tying them together as unified works. Instead of self-contained satellites, they’re merely continuations of the norm.
While it’s certainly tough for an artist to keep a true sense of continuity from work to work, it’s even tougher to live up to the expectations of a three-album announcement. The final sputters of The Devin Townsend Projectproved that advance promises can lead to letdowns, especially when an anxious fanbase is left in a prolonged limbo. Decay can occur in transit, making a telegraphed announcement something of a risk.
Blut Aus Nord takes risks. They pay off.
The Desanctification comes hot on the heels of the acclaimed Sect(s), which was released eariler this year. This rapid succession of releases not only quells any unrest on the part of devotees, but it keeps the narrative fresh. That narrative is what makes 777 such a startling anomaly; upon listening toThe Desanctification, it’s quickly apparent that this is a true trilogy in every sense–it picks up exactly where Sect(s) left off and acts as a vessel to transport to the story to its conclusion.
Not lyrically, though; nothing Blut Aus Nord does is that direct. Much like the first installment, the vocals are minimal, but the stylistic transition is seamless. For a band that that is famously amorphous, The Desantificationis oddly cumulative. Sect(s) brought the wrath of The Work Which Transforms God into a robust arena fortified with their strongest, most massive production to date. The Desanctification still hangs here, while toning down the “traditional” blinding blasts and backwards riffing in favor of more expansive exploration.
Where Sect(s) shattered concrete with crushing grooves (“Epitome IV” and “Epitome VI”), The Desanctification hurls those grooves into the ether, ramping up that colossal Godflesh swing and splaying it skyward withMemoria Vetusta‘s soulful cries. The mounful leads that punctuate the roiling “Epitome VIII” and cool-to-the-touch “Epitome X” serve as a phenomenal counterpoint to the band’s trademark dissonance.
The album delivers on the promise laid by its immediate forebear: It provides the visceral uneasiness of TWWTG and the majesty of MVII, all while moving infinitely forward. The Desanctification isn’t a back-reaching collage, it’s an inward exploration, intent on progess and evolution. But as one could gather from the prior allusions to the song titles, reviewing The Desanctification as a standalone effort misses the point entirely.
It can’t be stressed enough: The most relevatory (and victorious) aspect ofThe Desanctification is the fact that Blut Aus Nord is actually delivering on what was promised. They’re crafting a trilogy with resounding continuity, and in doing so, are crafting a work that stands as a culmination of their career up to this point. Sect(s) and The Desanctification are, truly, one album. “Epitome,” truly, is one song. We’re merely spectators at this point, webcaught in a masterwork from one of the most vital, creative entities of our generation. Until 777‘s final act is upon us, The Desanctification‘s value is nearly impossible to quantify.
That revelation, on second thought, may actually tell the story of The Desanctification‘s strength. It engages, it implores, it invigorates. It places the listener on the precipice of the unknown, in eager anticipation of what is yet to come. As such, it plays its role perfectly, setting the stage for 777′s inevitable conclusion. Instead of falling prey to our expectations, Blut Aus Nord commands us. We are merely captive spectators.
The view is breathtaking.