Blut Aus Nord / P.H.O.B.O.S. - Triunity (split)
Debemur Morti Productions
Industrial Black Metal
6 songs (40:35)
Release year: 2014
Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Well, this is a welcome surprise. Let's leave the discussion of Blut Aus Nord's past catalogue elsewhere, as I've discussed my views on it before and it's ripe for re-examination anyway. Suffice it to say I'm not the world's biggest fan of Vindsval and co's post-2005 output, and thought the band was in something of a rut. Well, it's fair to say that Triunity, a split with irritatingly-named countrymen P.H.O.B.O.S, may represent the start of a new age for Blut Aus Nord, finished with the 777 trilogy of albums and free to take their sound onwards. Of course, they left pure black metal long ago, but their dissonant sound has been hugely influential on the scene of today, and the roots of that sound are more than audible here.

What's most interesting is what's new about Blut Aus Nord in 2014, and it may take you a while to realise, but they've finally added a human drummer to the mix. The results are fantastic, as the songs on this split prove immediately. Opener De Librio Arbitrio may sound fairly typical for the band at first, whirring riffs and eerie keyboards with off-kiltre percussion and Vindsval's croak a familiar mixture. Yet the drum machine has been left in the cupboard, and a human dimension is brought to bear on the style thanks to Gionata Potenti (Acherontas, 11 as in Adversaries, Krieg, and many more). I've complained before that the drum machine detracted from the atmospheric effect that Blut Aus Nord's music should have, and this seems to prove me right, as stripped of this industrial element the band's sound seems purer and just better in some way. The vocals seem eerie, the guitar lines more compelling, the overall effect more forceful.

Yet even then, more change is to come. The following Hùbris begins slowly, a build-up from stoic riffing and calm, almost-sung vocals, beneath a heavy percussive layer, but soon breaks out actual groovy metal riffs, sounding almost Godfleshian. It's not a step away from their atmospheric sound by any means, but it is a different version of it, and one that sounds terrific to these ears. And closer Némeïnn is even better, a slow and meandering atmospheric wander through dark soundscapes that is exactly what Blut Aus Nord should be producing. Here's hoping they continue to produce goodness off the back of this.

Splitmates P.H.O.B.O.S, for those new to the French act, are much more doomier and abstract in style. The three seven-minute songs here are equally dark and brooding, yet in different ways. They're immediately less organic due to still using a drum machine (seriously, unless you're actually Godflesh or Hate Forest stop using a drum machine!) Glowing Phosphorus setting the scene with sparse beats drowned in sci-fi whooshes and beeps. It's a familiar yet eerie mixture that builds to Transfixed at Golgotha's raw impact, like Godflesh with a lobotomy in its bluntness, and once again the concluding Ahrihmanic Impulse Victory is the best track present, moving towards Blut Aus Nord territory with its ghostly echoing vocals and yet keeping the Godfleshian drum beats to make an uneasy hybrid. Maybe this is the third presence of the split title – it's hard to keep JK Broadrick out of the discussion whenever industrial metal enters the discussion, and he's first pick for a fairy godfather of the scene. Yet for a snapshot of two bands working towards the same inhuman ends, Triunity is superb; let's hope that Blut Aus Nord can build on this and step away from their rut as a result.

Killing Songs :
Hùbris, Némeïnn, Ahrihmanic Impulse Victory
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