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. : The Desanctification [Digipak]
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  • Personnel: Vindsval.
  • Late in 2010, France's Blut Aus Nord announced they would be following Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars with a sequel to their classic 2003 offering, The Work Which Transforms God. What's more, it would be a conceptual trilogy furthering the concept of the number 777 that the former album addressed philosophically. Predictably, expectations were high. The first volley, 777: Sect(s), featured a six-track suite in which all tracks were entitled "Epitome." It was a brutal, blastbeat-laden assault that sounded as if it were recorded live in the studio. It still contained BAN's atmospheric spacious and ethereal touches, but it felt immediate (even if the often frenetic drums were mixed much higher than the guitars and the vocals -- the latter were almost buried). It also seemed to embody aspects from all of the band's previous offerings -- if only for a few minutes at a time. Part two, 777: The Desanctification, is almost a mirror image of 777: Sect(s). These tracks continue the suite with "Epitome, Pts. 7-13," and it's still heavy, but plods more than it careens -- and that's a good thing. Guitars and vocals are more prominent in the mix; atmospheres are richly layered and still come off as live; drums and drum machines are active and play off one another for a wider, richer textural palette. Electronic sounds and ambiences are applied more throughly as well. Whereas most of the tracks on 777: Sect(s) pushed the seven-, eight-, and even 13-minute barriers in length, everything here is less than nine, with most cuts coming in between six and seven minutes. The angularity of Vindsval's guitar playing and the way it engages percussion on "Epitome, Pt. 8" act almost like counterpoint, building to a thunderous crescendo. Elsewhere, on "Epitome, Pt. 10," the pace, while midtempo, feels syrupy and slow, as Vindsval's layered vocals create a choir-like effect which is answered by middle-string guitar riffing in near processional mode. "Epitome, Pt. 7" begins with a high-pitched grinding sound answered by kick and snare drums and, again, single-string guitar. Its sonics remind one -- albeit minimally -- of Godflesh. Ultimately, 777: The Desanctification is a worthy answer to its predecessor, even as it expresses the more experimental side of Blut Aus Nord's sound arsenal. While it's not clear yet -- and won't be until chapter three hits -- how this is an extension of The Work Which Transforms God, it hardly matters, as this set stands on its own as a work of terrible, depressive, mournful, and yes, aggressive beauty. ~ Thom Jurek
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