BLUT AUS NORD  The Work Which Transforms God / Thematic Emanation  2 x CD   (Candlelight)   12.98

Dope double-CD reissue of the mindblowing fourth album from France's Blut Aus Nord, their most critically acclaimed release and the album that has garnered the band attention from far outside of the confines of the underground black metal scene. You can probably chalk that up to the fact that The Work Which Transforms God moves further outside of the parameters of black metal moreso than with any of their previous releases. The album was first released in 2003 in France, and it's sort of a concept album that deals with the band's philosophy of forward-thinking, new perceptions of reality, and constant evolution, although no lyrics are included here and it's all open to interpretation. Now we've got this new version reissued for the US through Candlelight and packaged with a second CD that contains the entire Thematic Emanation Of Archetypal Multiplicity EP. Growing weirder and more abstract with each release, Blut Aus Nord unleash some grim, searing black metal here, think early Emperor or Darkthrone, but at the same time they take that sound and warp it, melt it, mutating their filth-encrusted black metal buzz into a surreal drug trip filled with icy industrial ambience, deep gore gurgling vocals, huge stretches of drifting black dronescapes, passages of dub-like machine psych, and those queasy guitars that warble and lurch like someone is messing with the tuning pegs while they're playing the song. Those seasick guitar chords and guitar lines add alot of the unearthly ambience that makes this album so intense, permeated with an intangible, dreamlike dread. There's all kinds of rhythmic action happening here too, the drum machine sometimes grinding out a mechanized dirge a la Godflesh's Streetcleaner, or layering twisted tribal percussion that moves in and out of the background. The pinnacle of the album is the final song, "Procession Of The Dead Clowns", a lumbering ten minute dirge with spare, glacial drumming and a sorrowful, keening guitar melody, almost like a Jesu song but way more funereal and dismal and grim.

The second disc features the Thematic Emanation Of Archetypal Multiplicity EP, a more recent release from Blut Aus Nord that has five tracks of eerie, doomy dirges, fucked-up industrial clang, dank fields of black drone drifting over sparse drum machine beats, Gregorian-style chants, a weird breakbeat-heavy industrial dance track, and more of their frozen, lysergic ambience.