Blut Aus Nord - _The Mystical Beast of Rebellion_
(Oaken Shield / Adipocere, 2001)
by: David Rocher (4 out of 10)
It has now been nearly a decade since the mysterious and prolific character Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord, Children of Maani, The Eye) began lurking in the French extreme metal underground scene with his haunting works. Set aside Children of Maani, which disclosed his interest for oriental-sounding tonalities, both his other projects, The Eye and Blut Aus Nord, have always been a scarcely concealed tribute to Grishnack's songwriting and the "truest" slants of the black metal genre's ideals. After a lengthy pause, Vindsval is now back with a third Blut Aus Nord album which, to gather it in a nutshell, should satisfy his existing fans, yet will also predictably fail to earn him any new ones. The chilling, spectral tonalities of Blut Aus Nord's previous releases, _Ultima Thule_ and _Memoria Vetusta I_, still pervade this act of self-acclaimed "Undaground Musical Terrorism", with what feels like more emphasis on the characteristic icy feel, less bombastic keyboard effects and more streamlined, stripped-down song structures -- bleakness indeed. Alas, despite the chilling atmosphere that this third release irradiates, the traditional linearity inherent to Vindsval's works soon becomes as wearing as the constant 4/4 drum machine battering this album never seems to part ways with; hence, although some tracks stand out as fine examples indeed of haunting black metal anthems (as the track "Chapter 4: The Fall"), most of the material on this album soon fades into a blurred shroud of uneventful musical nothingness. Vindsval's devoted following and raw black metal aficionados thriving on repetition-induced atmosphere can safely turn to this release, but metalheads who enjoy any form of dynamics in their albums would be well advised not to heed any particular attention to this release.

(article published 3/7/2002)

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