Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry - (10/10)
Published on October 15, 2014
Drawing down the moon.
One of extreme metal’s foremost artisans, the mad mastermind Vindsval and his eclectic Blut Aus Nord have plunged the darkest depth of industrial misery and scaled resounding plateaus of grandeur. A pioneer of what has become known as industrial and experimental black metal, the high water mark of a Blut Aus Nord release remains the awe-inspiringly majestic Memoria Vetusta-albums. It has been 18 years since I: Fathers Of The Icy Age knocked the third wave of black metal off its feet, taking the genre to splendorous new heights. The second part of the saga, II: Dialogue With The Stars, was a transcendental masterpiece of cosmic proportions, once again pushing and expanding the boundaries of melodic black metal. Now the band, completed by drummer/keyboardist W.D. Field and bassist GhÖst, have purged their system of caustic industrial darkness through the 777 and Liber-trilogies. We arrive now at the zenith of Memoria Vetusta; the next chapter comes in the form of the humongous III: Saturnian Poetry.
If the magnificent cover art of Saturnian Poetry seems familiar, that’s probably because it was painted by Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin, known for iconic works such as Emperor’s In The Nightside Eclipse and Dissection’s Storm Of The Light’s Bane. It is fitting then, that the newest chapter of the Memoria Vetusta saga brings the same sense of cataclysmic illustriousness that made those albums enduring classics. Characterized by familiarly intense triumphant melodies, Saturnian Poetry reinvents the galloping guitar-heavy crescendos of Fathers Of The Icy Age and brings aboard the psychedelic stardust of Dialogue With The Stars. At the heart of it all sits Vindsval’s signature compositions, feeling closer to a modern Wagnerian epic than to a more traditional black metal buzz.
Sweeping guitar-pieces are densely layered together with interstellar keyboards, otherworldly chanting, and the hammering rhythms of W.D. Field and GhÖst, yet each piece is allowed plenty of space to breathe. In place of the mechanical beats of previous releases, the live drums give Saturnian Poetry a more natural feel, with numerous fills and subtle details adding to the spectacular totality. Constantly growing and twisting, each climactic riff leads to another high, to the point where the listener is left with chills down their spine. Many motifs are recognizable from the previous Memoria Vetusta-albums, tying the work together as a concept far removed from the apocalyptic decay that exemplifies so much of Blut Aus Nord’s larger discography. Every time it feels like the music has peaked, the celestial rug is swept aside and new horizons loom. When the album ends, as all good things must, the brilliant euphoria of “Clarissima Mundi Lumina” lingers for hours.
Continuing what will stand as one of the great concepts of our time, Saturnian Poetry is simultaneously staggeringly colossal and strikingly enigmatic. Bringing together the sublime elegance of Dialogue With The Stars and the victorious stride of Fathers Of The Icy Age, the bar is set once more by the unbridled French masters. The heavens and the earth tremble under the magnificence that is Memoria Vetusta, the definitive expression of heroic black metal and a remarkable piece of art.