Blut Aus Nord are one of those bands whose discographies should come with a map. Starting off with an atmospheric, expansive approach to Black Metal, they’ve spent two decades letting that approach lead them through a variety of approaches and styles, each united by the same cosmic aesthetic and adventurous spirit.
Their contribution to the Triunity (Debemur Morti) split shows them operating in a similar territory to 2007’s Odinist, but with a much greater reliance on structure. The more Metal moments of the first 777 album also spring to mind at points – thick, almost chugging guitars overlaid with haunting, progressive-minded leads and processed vocals. What’s interesting here is how much ground they’re able to cover in just under twenty minutes – the three tracks run together into an expansive whole which manages to be both heavy, introspective and surprisingly aggressive in parts; a great bite-size introduction to the band, and a perfect confirmation for fans that they’re still pushing their own distinctive musical vision forward.
One of the problems with splits is often that the bands are too similar in sound – Triunity avoids that by picking two acts who share aesthetic qualities but are musically quite distinct. With repetitive processed guitars, clipped mechanical vocals and sinister ambient noise, P.H.O.B.O.S most readily call to mind early Godflesh if they gave up on all that urban decay business and looked to the cosmos. “Industrial” – surely among the most abused words in music – is a good enough fit here, but this is an eldritch, half-tangible factory in the middle of a desolate spiritual wasteland, staffed by ghosts endlessly working at machines whose working conform to no known principles of engineering. Possibly making things for Argos.
Of the two sides, BAN’s is the most accomplished and satisfying in itself – P.H.O.B.O.S rely perhaps too heavily on repetition, and over such a short length can seem a little hollow – but Triunity shows two bands offering a similarly mystical take on two different styles, and is an engaging and captivating listen either in parts or taken as a whole.
8 / 10
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