Originally written by Jordan Campbell
Last Friday, Blut Aus Nord released What Once Was…Liber III via Bandcamp. With zero fanfare. Unless you were one of the forty-odd people slavishly following Debemur Morti’s Facebook feed, this release practically came out of nowhere. Even the label’s status updates were playfully cryptic; there were “coming soon” statements months / weeks prior that reached the greater populace, but most of the pre-order anticipation was kept pretty close to the imprint’s installed base.
Liber III‘s stealthy digital release was not only a thrilling, post-work Friday surprise (yay weekends!), but a refreshing counterpoint to the tedious hype-cycles that plague metallic commerce. You know the drill: Inane studio updates arrive courtesy of Outlet A; “exclusive” lyric video is released via Outlet B; full album stream comes courtesy of Outlet C. In the meantime, the average punter is pounding refresh on Has it Leaked?, hoping to swipe the album before they’re sick of hearing about it.
Blut Aus Nord doesn’t have time for that bullshit.
Their frills-free release of Liber III is not just in line with the mysterious act’s general ethos (which, admittedly, got a little too pliable come Cosmosophy), but the matter-of-factness of the Liber releases themselves. Beginning with the vinyl-only release of the first installment, the Liber series has existed as a compact, smaller-scale offshoot from what Vindsval was doing with the 777 trilogy. It’s essentially a side project under the same moniker. While 777 shot for the stars–and ultimately missed, despite making a good run–the Liber entries have kept Blut Aus Nord grounded.
The first and second outings were meandering exhibitions of madness, two-song marathons of raw weirdness in the band’s death-tinged, turn-of-the-century mold. III is the most fully-fleshed exhibition, six tracks of neurotic, Godfleshian chaos carved from The Work Which Transforms God‘s tattered cloth. It’s a fan-friendly release from an aggressively challenging act, and it plays like a reward to the loyalists that stuck with 777 until its lackluster conclusion. Liber III is a vicious, wonderfully hideous thank-you note.
The familiarity of the material is likely what drove Vindsval to keep this arc slightly under the radar. It’s a genre piece from an act known for bending the borders. But sometimes, when an artist returns to a womb of their own creation (e.g., Devin Townsend creating Ocean Machine‘s belated sequel in Accelerated Evolution), the result is gratifying for both parties. Liber III isn’t Vindsval’s finest work, but it could prove to be one of his most intimate.
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Digital copies of Liber III are available now via Debemur Morti’s Bandcamp page.
Vinyl and compact disc versions will be released on Friday, October 25th.
Debemur Morti is “99.9% sure” that a US vinyl release via Gilead Media will be coming soon.