Blut Aus Nord’s “Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses” Evokes Antediluvian Horrors
Vindsval is an expert in the art of compartmentalization. Throughout their sprawling, 28 year career with Blut aus Nord, he's curated a discography where each album–or in some cases, a series of albums–is the distillation and exploration of a certain set of sounds. Though their catalog is frequently divided between melodic progressions or industrial raptures, the tangents in which Vindsval executes these duplexities can sound quite unalike from each record to the next. The Work Which Transforms God and Odinist, pieces that are often recognized as two of Blut aus Nord's more "discordant" endeavors, unfurl their grotesqueries in completely different ways. Likewise, Memoria Vetusta III exudes an opulent sense of melody rather than the mescaline-soaked tabs of harmony found on Hallucinogen.
Advertised as Blut aus Nord's maneuver to "reassume their rightful throne" after what was their most–if not their only–whimsical release to date, Disharmonium–Undreamable Abysses is an album that almost feels as if it was made in response to Hallucinogen's overt melodicism. I mean, just take a second to look at its title, and though it certainly does err on the more abrasive side of their discography, it is still Blut aus Nord like we’ve never encountered them before.
Whereas previous, similarly strident efforts from the band - consisting of Vindsval and his longtime collaborators W.D. Feld and GhÖst - veered heavily into an abyssal, mechanical grinding, Disharmonium–Undreamable Abysses feels more spectral and otherworldly. It evokes a more supernatural form of terror, far removed from the industrial scrapyards where past works was like MoRT or 777–Sect(s) were constructed. Like Lovecraft’s best work, the horrors of Disharmonium–Undreamable Abysses sound both oceanic and unearthly all at once.
Atmosphere has always been one of Blut aus Nord’s foundational elements. They've made music that elicits imagery of both heavenly vistas or infernal sweeps, but here its importance is greater than ever; Disharmonium–Undreamable Abysses forgoes many of the band's typical metal trappings, and is, in essence, a product of pure atmosphere. Despite the vibrant hues of pink, blue, and purple that dress its cover, it is, sonically, a very gray album and maintains a tone that is consistently monochromatic. Keeping in the theme of nautical dread, throughout its seven tracks it feels like trying to navigate volatile waters during an overcast day at sea, vision obfuscated by thick layers of fog.
Disharmonium -Undreamable Abysses’s tension is something hard to ignore. Rather than congealing into actual riffs, the rhythm guitars create more an uneasy churn with the ebb and flow of their varying tempos making it hard to maintain balance. Meanwhile ethereal wails of lead guitar cut through the haze like leviathanic squalls, and instead of typical blackened screeches, Vindsval's vocals are reduced to sporadic moans and whimpers, like desperate cries from a figure trapped in the beyond.
One of Blut aus Nord's greatest strengths is their ability to write batches of music that deliver a consistent and distinct melodic through line. Time and again, Vindsval has proven himself a virtuoso of curating themes, and Disharmonium–Undreamable Abysses is no different. It is an exceedingly immersive album due in no small part to the band’s ability to maintain ubiquity throughout the record's seven tracks, where each song feels haunted by a similar atmosphere of antediluvian horror.