Blut Aus Nord
The Work Which Transforms God
~reviewed by Goat
Hybrid vigor. You remember it from Intermediate Biology, right? In plants, cattle, dogs, etc., the judicious crossing of two purebred parents may result in hybrid vigor in the F1 generation. Further crossing of the hybrids results in a decrease of vigor in the subsequent (F2, F3, etc.) generations. F1 generations then, while showing hybrid vigor, are useless for further breeding. Remember this.
There was metal. There was dark metal.
There was black metal. And, there was machine metal music.
There was dark ambience. There was black ambience. Two purebreeds.
The F1 generation was probably Ulver back in... well, whatever year it
was the Blake recordings came out, and then began the true and irredeemable
downward spiral of Ulver. For all of the grandiose press releases
surrounding Blut Aus Nord, they are hardly the first generation hybrid
of black metal and black noise. If the Ulver comparison isn’t proof
enough that it’s been done before, then perhaps Ved Buens Ende? I’ve
heard other black metal black noise/ambient variations, but I don’t recall
the names of the albums. I didn’t keep them.
I’ve digressed so quickly! To be fair, there are places in The Work Which Transforms God where the crossing is really impressive. Where the vehemence of pure, beautiful black metal, and the resounding chaos of black ambience work wonderfully well together, and with stunning, scintillating results. Other times however, the blend veers dangerously close to artschool wanking and self-congratulatory prog rock. Mainly, also, the album is not so much a blending of the two forms, black metal and noise, as it is a bit of one form, and then a bit of the other, and then a bit of one and a bit of the other, track to track. On tracks such as “The Fall”, where there is an attempt to blend several styles and types of music together, it just begins to seem to me like Cookie Monster meets Endura with echoey layering, or some shite. I remain unmoved. However, on the very next track, “Metamorphosis”, there’s some exquisitely peculiar music. Black ambient prog metal, maybe? Is black ambient prog metal a transformation of black metal? Perhaps, perhaps. Not being a big fan of semantic discussions on the first place, I will simply say that the track “Metamorphosis” is a hybrid of black metal and black noise and is progressive in nature. It’s a delight to behold, and such tracks make the album worth finding used. Unfortunately, they are the exception of the album, and not the rule. Another example of when it works is track 9, “Devilish Essence” which then moves right into the profoundly ridiculous “The Howling Of God”.
Overall my feeling about The Work Which Transforms God is rather ambivalent. I will probably listen to the CD again a few times in my ownership of it. I would imagine it will happen twice, maybe three times a year. There are a lot of allusions to Godflesh in the press releases; note made that Blut Aus Nord appeared on a Godflesh tribute album, and the like. When I’m in the mood for Godflesh, I’ll reach for Godflesh. When I’m in the mood for black metal, I’ll reach for Krieg, Averse Sefira, Burzum, etc. When I’m in the mood for a blend of black noise and black ambience, I probably won’t reach for Blut Aus Nord The cheesy bits ruin the whole of the work for me. I resent having to skip through parts of an album when I’m listening to CDs on my stereo. Generally if a CD has shite bits in it, it simply never gets played. So, if we’re judging by thumbs, I would give this Blut Aus Nord piece a one thumb up and direct your attention back to the purebreeds or the first generation hybrids. Lustmord, Brighter Death Now, Neptune Towers, Manes “Under Ein Bloraud Maane”, Zoviet France, O Yuki Conjugate, Ildjarn, Lord Wind, Sleep Reasearch Facility or pretty much any and everything that Cold Meat Industry, Cold Spring Records, Soleilmoon and Spikefarm have ever released. This album isn’t awful, it’s just not the new and un-charted territory it claims to be. We’re talking F2, F3 generation here. Dig? And for the person who just said, “You forgot PsychicTV and Whitehouse”, well, there you have ‘em.