Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Debemur Morti Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (48:56)
Release year: 2019
Blut Aus Nord, Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Goat

That cover art and that album title hint quite heavily that French blacktrippers Blut Aus Nord have changed up a formula in serious danger of overstaying its welcome, and there is good and bad news here. The good news is that Hallucinogen is slightly a trippier take on the Memoria Vetusta sound, dominated by melody rather than dissonance and a step back in time away from the post-Work Which Transforms God style which has dominated the band's discography - as I believe, to their detriment as regular readers will know all too well! The bad news is that despite that artwork and that album title, there's not really enough wacky psychedelia here to warrant the hype. So although Hallucinogen turns out to be one of the better recent Blut Aus Nord albums, it's still worth treating with caution for those who have been burnt one too many times by this brilliant but frustrating band.

The base formula remains unchanged, albeit with more organic drums; the nightmarish echoing vocals, distant and eerie, the trilling guitar lines, melodic and threatening simultaneously, working together to both unease and thrill the listener. There is definitely more of a psychedelic feel here, the likes of Nebeleste almost leaning towards post-rock territory in the second half as the band allow the melodious riffs to work their way into your brain, and it's interesting how well this works as an album. Songs are carefully constructed to be unique but they are similar in sound enough for this to feel hypnotic if never quite repetitive, which is a difficult trick to pull off and one that must be acknowledged. Riffs can be surprisingly strident and heavy metal for this band, near rockstar shapes thrown in places, with the more upfront Sybelius pushing the psychedelic leads back a little with clean, almost monklike vocals while the guitarists widdle and groove next to your ears.

And the likes of Anthosmos are downright violent, blasting drums, furious, near-chaotic guitars and Vindsval's snarls reminding you that the DNA of this band is mostly black metal. That comes across clearly from the melodic yet flurrying battery of Mahagma, blastbeats nearly drowning out the droning clean singing as the guitar riffs twitter away to themselves, yet this remains a black metal album to sit and dream to. The spacier and indeed spicier moments tend to come towards the end of tracks when the oddly compelling riffs have worked enough of their magic on your brain to have full effect, such as the classic Blut Aus Nordian torrential blackened gallop that hits towards the end of Haallucinählia. And although there's not a standout moment of true genius on the album that would work as a solitary selling point, it consistently hits the heights well enough for it to be the most interesting thing Blut Aus Nord have produced in a while, if not quite up to the Memoria Vetusta trilogy. Still, that's a high bar to reach, and it's a pleasure to be able to recommend this band again.

Killing Songs :
Sybelius, Mahagma
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Blut Aus Nord that we have reviewed:
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - 777 - The Desanctification reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - 777 Sect(s) reviewed by Tony and quoted 76 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God reviewed by Tony and quoted 86 / 100
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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