Review by Trevor Proctor.
Having been a fan of Ævangelist and Blut Aus Nord for a while the recent announcement from Debemur Morti Productions stating they will release a split album featuring new tracks from both artists in June more than piqued my interest. Blut Aus Nord and Ævangelist are two of our world’s most intriguing artists and a release showcasing both is nothing short of sublime. The release which is entitled Codex Obscura Nomina will be available on CD and digital formats from the 17th of June and will feature four tracks from Blut Aus Nord along with a twenty two minute track from Ævangelist.
The impressive cover artwork is the creation of Daniel Valencia from Fenomeno Design. Blut Aus Nord’s tracks were manipulated, recorded and mixed by V. at Earthsound Studio and mastered by Bruno Varea at Upload Studio. Ævangelist’s track was recorded, mixed and mastered by Matron Thorn.
Blut Aus Nord’s last album, “Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry” was very well received and featured some truly iconic and atmospheric boundary pushing Black Metal and their four tracks for this release will continue this trip into the depths of avant-garde, but as always done in their own inimitable way. Formed in 1994 from the remains of Vlad, Blut Aus Nord is the undoubted pioneer of French Black Metal. Their music is a shape shifter that regularly brings you down the most unexpected of paths and from inception Blut Aus Nord has refuted regressive paths and more common forms of Black Metal with the result being they have always spat in the face of predictable blueprint mediocrity. “Blut Aus Nord are creators of a hallucinogenic universe, erasing all preconceived ideas of Black Metal – and extreme music in general. They redefine the rules…..”
These words are extremely applicable to their tracks from this split as they continue to push the boundaries of Black Metal into bleaker and more abrasive soundscapes than ever before. Whilst “Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry” featured some ground breaking yet recognisable Black Metal, this release sees further use of unpredictable non-conformist sounds to their music, in turn creating an even more unrecognisable form of Black Metal. Elements of noise, dark ambient, psychedelic electronica, Black Metal and even 20th century classical are all present in varying degrees. Granted, this may not be for everyone, especially the purists, but what you have here is an ingenious listen. An inventive listen perfectly summed up by the press release, “Exospheres of skewed glissando melodies incant magick atop hallucinogenic rolling beats. The ghosts of fractured snarls, unnerving whispers and ritualistic ceremonial choirs conjure an aura of subliminal dementia.” Third track, “The Parallel Echoes” sees Blut Aus Nord thrust the listener into a bleak world with forceful industrial beats which create genuinely disconcerting melodies amidst the darkest of electronica. A highlight for me is their closer, “Infra-Voices Ensemble” which continues Blut Aus Nord’s trip into dark electronica even further with extremely intense, cold, industrial techno which invokes feelings of evil and demented euphoria through heavy bass, strange and eerie choirs and disorienting chord arrangements. As stated, some of this may not be for everyone but if you’re prepared to ditch your previous conceptions of Black Metal and pursue the stranger, darker path conveyed here you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.
Ævangelist formed in 2010 and since then have brought us an extensive portfolio of music in the form of four albums, four EP releases, a split with Esoterica and a live album – the only thing that matches their productivity is their ability to create the most imaginative, all-consuming, twisted and demented style of music. I make no secret of the fact I’m a huge fan of Ævangelist and they’ve featured a number of times on this site. Writhes in the Murk was reviewed here and also featured highly in my top album list for 2014 whilst their latest album “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” featured on my top album list for 2015. Ævangelist are true pioneers of extreme music, never afraid to experiment and never afraid to push those boundaries a bit further than most. Alongside a new full length and a live album last year they also brought out two new EP releases, “Abstract Catharsis” and “Dream an Evil Dream.” Ævangelist have always been fond of long track durations but with these two EP releases they took this fondness to a new extreme altogether – “Abstract Catharsis” was a one track EP that lasts fourteen minutes but even this was eclipsed by the single track on “Dream an Evil Dream” that spans over thirty eight minutes. Their contribution to this split sees this continue with a single track entitled “Threshold of the Miraculous.”
Ævangelist is the creative force of two individuals; Matron Thorn who performs guitars, bass, drums, vocals and noise and Ascaris who performs vocals, saxophone and cello. Their music is unique, it’s always a twisted and warped trip into the depths of horrific death metal that knows no limits and takes you on a demented journey every time you listen. As stated, I feel their music is unique but if forced to draw similarities you’d go with the likes of Portal, Abyssal or Antediluvian. “Threshold of the Miraculous” gets off to a slow burning start with weird and eerie background noises and repeated, strained guitar tones for just over a minute before fully launching into this latest monumental track. Ævangelist maintain a mid-pace during this twenty two minute monster punctuated with the occasional excursions into faster territory and as always they use any amount of variation in sound, dynamics and effects to bring us some truly outstanding music. There was an element of extremely dark trip hop present at times during “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” and thankfully Ævangelist tinker with this formula again during “Threshold of the Miraculous.” I appreciate some may argue this style of music is a bit too much but it works perfectly well and shows both inventiveness and fearless experimentation on Ævangelist’s behalf. As always the vocals play a significant part during the music and also varies as much as the music itself does – switching between harsh and menacing growls to spoken word sections that teeter on the brink of rap. No minute is the same as the next during this lengthy track and this is a mark of the band’s talent to not only hold but captivate the attention for so long. With “Thresholds of the Miraculous” Ævangelist have once again showed the world they have nothing to prove – they are the masters of experimental, twisted music – if you’re new to the band this is a good taster of what they have to offer and if you’re a fan of their previous work and enjoyed “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” you’ll love this.
Make no mistake about it; this is one of the best splits you’ll ever hear – two true pioneers of extreme music bypassing any boundaries that may prohibit their peers to deliver some of their most inventive, yet most lethal music yet, another new direction for Blut Aus Nord and Ævangelist doing what they do best. Cast aside your preconceptions of extreme music and get stuck in.
A very easy 10/10.
Blut Aus Nord:
01 - Evanescent Hallucinations
02 - Resonnance(s)
03 - The Parallel Echöes
04 - Infra-Voices Ensemble
05 - Threshold of the Miraculous.
Codex Obscura Nomina is currently available for pre-order via Debemur Morti Productions as well as a number of previous releases from both Blut Aus Nord and Ævangelist.