Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses – Album Review

Artist: Blut Aus Nord

Album Title: Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses

Label: Debemur Morti Productions

Date of Release: 20 May 2022

Blut Aus Nord have never been an easy band to get to grips with. With every passing album, they seem to offer something different, or simply change direction. It is with total honesty that I admit that the last Blut Aus Nord album I truly enjoyed was 2012’s ‘777 – Cosmosophy’, the final part of the ‘777’ trilogy that was released in full over a two-year period. Since then, I have always taken an interest in their musical offerings but, for one reason or another, none of the ensuing three full-length albums have tickled my fancy enough to pen a review at manofmuchmetal.com. Not even the more ‘melodic’ and ‘whimsical’ ‘Hallucinogen’ from 2019. But it’s 2022 and because I’m devouring as much music as I can this year, I couldn’t let album number 14 slip by without taking a closer look.

They may be described as a black metal band but the French trio of W.D. Feld (drums, keys, electronics), Vindsval (guitars, vocals), and GhÖst (bass) have not neatly fitted this mould for some time now. Depending on your view of black metal, you may disagree; you might believe that Blut Aus Nord are the very definition of the genre, or an abandoner of the scene – much like the corpse paint worn by many in the genre, opinions tend to be rather black or white when it comes to the question of ‘what is black metal?’ I think we can all agree though, that Blut Aus Nord have always delivered interesting music, never shying away from testing boundaries and going wherever they want to. ‘Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses’ is no different.

Before you even hit the ‘play’ button, there are two big clues as to what might be in store with this new record. First, there’s the striking artwork (Maciej Kamuda) which doesn’t feel particularly inviting, depicting what appears to be a gruesome creature from the depths. Then there’s the title of the album itself: ‘Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses’; it’s hardly the moniker for an album to be enjoyed on a lazy Sunday afternoon with coffee and cake. And so it proves to be.

From beginning to end, Blut Aus Nord test the listener with some truly otherworldly soundscapes here. Comprised of seven individual tracks, ‘Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses’ is, I believe, intended to be listened to and enjoyed as a whole, more of a cinematic film score for some nasty, depraved horror chiller than a collection of songs. For long periods, the music is heavy and hypnotic in nature, with relentless drumming, a throbbing bass at the bottom end and generally fast-picked riffs. But within the loose black metal framework, unsettling synths and electronic sounds assault the ears, as well as some harsh lead sounds from Vindsval’s guitar.

When put all together, there’s a definite foreboding malevolence that envelopes the music; and this malevolence is not even hidden in the dark, shadowy corners, as it looms large throughout. Even when the extreme metal trappings are reduced in order for the music to explore more ambient climes, these are not gentle and soothing. Instead, the metallic instruments are replaced by evil sounds and textures that maintain the feeling of unease. Even the vocals, such as they are, are a collection of incoherent whispers, growls and moanings that sit so far back in the mix that they are deliberately unnoticeable at times, only coming to the fore when necessary for added impact. Put simply, whichever direction Blut Aus Nord take on ‘Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses’, the music is the sound of unimaginable nightmares.

And yet, there is something about the music here that pulls me back and demands that I listen again and again. One of the least accessible of the tracks is entitled ‘Into The Woods’ and it is chilling. Sounds that border on noise and perhaps stem from industrial influences dominate the composition, giving it a hellish feel overall. But the masochist in me cannot help but listen to the song, almost revelling in the sheer audacity of the music, whilst the hypnotic sounds seep into my brain and won’t let go. It’s like I’m experiencing a crude attempt at brainwashing, but it actually works, or seems to.

I won’t go as far as to say that I find pure enjoyment in listening to ‘Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses’, because that’s not true, not entirely. It is certainly more of a compulsion that brings me back, much like my compulsion to look through my fingers at a picture or video of a large hairy spider; I’m revulsed, yet strangely drawn to the music in just about equal measure.

Nevertheless, there are parts of ‘Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses’ that I quite like, or like more than other parts. For example, the guitar riffs and tones within ‘Neptune’s Eye’ are very ear catching and I’m drawn to them more with each passing listen. There’s even a vague hint of slower, groove or melody lurking somewhere deep within the bowels of the song – just don’t shout about it otherwise we might scare it away. The bold intro to ‘That Cannot Be Dreamed’ is cool too, as is the lurching, lumbering nature of the composition, created by frequent uncomfortable tempo changes. And there’s also the opening track, ‘Chants Of The Deep Ones’ which on one hand, is a fast, aggressive affair, full of uncompromising instrumentation just as you’d expect from extreme metal. But on the other, it’s another of those deceptively alluring pieces of music that almost insidiously leaves an impression on me. For all its unnerving traits and demonstrable spite, it’s easily one of the most memorable tracks on offer here.

I have waffled on for nearly a thousand words and yet I still don’t feel like I’ve really got to the true heart of this album. It is like very little else that I have heard for a good long while, maybe ever. It is the sound of darkness, depravity, and evil incarnate, as intriguing as it is unnerving and unsettling. Whether or not you like ‘Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses’ will very much depend on how open-minded you are and how tolerant you are to music that has a thread of listenability about it but will do its best to convince you otherwise. I admire it, and I’m fascinated by it, rather than charmed by it. And yet, there is a distant charm to it too. Go figure. I’ll leave it there before the review descends into indecipherable inconsistencies and unfathomable oxymorons. Instead, have a listen for yourself and see what you think.

The Score of Much Metal: 78%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Drift Into Black – Earthtorn

Spheric Universe Experience – Back Home

Outshine – The Awakening

Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge For The Blessed Ones

Zero Hour – Agenda 21

Scitalis – Doomed Before Time

Morgue Supplier – Inevitability

Visions Of Atlantis – Pirates

Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

OU – One

Haunter – Discarnate Ails

Aara – Triade II: Hemera

Pure Reason Revolution – Above Cirrus

Demonical – Mass Destroyer

I Am The Night – While The Gods Are Sleeping

Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle

Delvoid – Swarmlife

LionSoul – A Pledge To Darkness

Watain – The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain

Dischordia – Triptych

Dragonbreed – Necrohedron

Audrey Horne – Devil’s Bell

Vanum – Legend

Stone Broken – Revelation

Radiant – Written By Life

Skull Fist – Paid In Full

Hurakan – Via Aeturna

Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’Homme

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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