Blut Aus Nord - _777 - Cosmosophy_
(Debemur Morti Productions, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (9.5 out of 10)
Innerspace quark jockeys rejoice: _Cosmosophy_ is every bit the tragedy-stained coda to Blut Aus Nord's transcendental masterpiece _777_ that the earlier installments promised. Lay to (chilly, infinite) rest any worries that an album devoted to endings and loose-thread tying would fail to enthrall an audience. Rhythmic and structural themes of past records are acknowledged but not repeated; in their wake, new ideas flow and eddy. There are no protracted, tearful farewells to the trilogy's great beginnings or to its celebrated forbear, _The Work Which Transforms God_. In its time, _Cosmosophy_ will fuck you slowly, carefully with an unyielding metaphysical icicle, and afterward you will cry tears whose causes are both self-evident and inexplicable.

Coming off the blast-soaked and occasionally urban industrialisms of _Sect(s)_ and _The Desanctification_, _Cosmosophy_'s stately march across the human psyche's coldest peaks seems slow, measured, almost haughtily frigid in its detachment as it surveys our collective sorrow and incapacity for change. The metal intelligentsia will balk at calling _Cosmosophy_ black metal, as it almost completely sheds the chittering wall of aggression most notably associated with the genre, that bleak curtain which largely obscures black metal's beauty and musical accomplishment from view. _Cosmosophy_ doesn't rage; instead, its stony misanthropy knocks back a half-dozen Valium and hates you from a comfortable near-death distance.

Blut Aus Nord's strongest material has always relied heavily on chord and tone choices that feel like every inch of reality's sane, flat road have corkscrewed off into strange universes where garish anti-colors flash with brilliantly rank odors, where time loops in crazily intersecting arcs, where facts and their collective meanings are just streams of lies each tells the other in the swirling, weightless confusion of space. _Cosmosophy_ lives in just such a realm, not fantastic in the least but a queasy reinterpretation of familiar, mundane contradictions.

"Epitome XV" drifts in the interstellar vacuum with the unborn demon twin offspring of an assimilated Jean-Luc Picard spitting double tracked French vocals, at once disgusted guttural sighing and calm, berating monotone, before strengthening into dense and expansive melodies. "Epitome XIV" (the first track) and "Epitome XVII" (the penultimate track) offer adventures in clean vocals with far closer ties to modern Homo sapiens. The eighteenth and final "Epitome" pounds and wails its way through seven minutes before devolving into a deep, twisting drone pierced with much higher-pitched tone shimmers. This voyage into darkness is harrowing and complete, and it's one worth taking again and again.


(article published 29/12/2012)

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