Blut Aus Nord: Memoria vetusta I - Fathers of the icy age
08/08/12 || The Duff
Blut Aus Nord released in 2009 one of the most breathtaking, atmospheric modern black metal albums of our time. Some slated it for its lack of originality, but for me personally it was a glorious mix of progressive rock/metal with the hypnotic energies so uniquely delivered by the masterful Vindsval and cohorts – can’t say that this day and age anyone sounds like Blut Aus Nord.
One can’t say however that the first stages of BAN’s career were equally of the most original styles, the soaring atmospheric presence always the core but the music less inventive, even less stark and acerbic than most noticeable efforts “The Work Which Transforms God” and beyond. So here we find ourselves with the prequel to “Dialogue with the Stars”, album number two from the band following from “Ultima Thulee” which in my mind was a solid debut but also too repetitive for my tastes, to others the best and most classic effort the band has produced to date.
Although rough around the edges, less grand in comparison to the debut, “Fathers of the Icy Age” is a honed work of art that is a mix of the epic off “Memoria Vetusta II” and the inexperience of “Ultima Thulee”, the music a touch directionless but thankfully to the album’s credit. The production is quite ghastly; it’s like sprinting towards the sound of running water ‘cos you’re parched but enormous canopies keep smacking you in the face. Does that make sense? It’s raw, but strangely comforting, like what it must feel like to be a pornstar in a bukkake film who has ten men slapping their dicks into her forehead, a reminder they still feel something for her despite the fact she’s covered in semen.
I hope we’re not at odds now; half a paragraph to describe the production, the music is real smooth, epic black metal with very typical vocals, not nearly the regular, eerie almost backdrop vocals of Vindsval we’re used to on later works. These are all straight up in your grill. Synth, solos and clean chants add that Pagan atmosphere, a connection with nature and a more sincere emotion that is a path rarely trodden by BAN seeing as their focus is more often than not industrial and bleak.
The artwork (of the re-issue, which you can find here) is probably a most suitable representation of the disc’s content. So, this to me, although a bit of a jumble in comparison to later efforts, represents the truest of BAN’s black metal phase, few hints of what they would so quickly evolve into – this is a great little gem, just shy of exceptional, and probably the most heartfelt of BAN’s discography when past records sound quite emotionally detached.
- Released: 1996
- Label: Impure Creations Records
- Website: Blut Aus Nord MySpace
- Vindsval: guitars, vocals
- W.D. Feld: drums, keyboards
- 01. Slaughterday (The Heathen Blood of Ours)
- 02. On the Path of Wolf… Towards Dwarfhill
- 03. Sons of Wisdom, Master of Elements
- 04. The Forsaken Voices of the Ghostwood’s Shadowy Realm
- 05. The Territory of Witches/Guardians of the Dark Lake
- 06. Day of Revenge (The Impure Blood of Theirs)
- 07. Fathers of the Icy Age