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Album Review

When fans of extreme metal hear the word "complexity" in connection with black metal, many of them immediately think of symphonic black metal; they think of the bands that have expanded black metal's horizons by combining it with power metal and even progressive rock. But MoRT, like previous Blut Aus Nord releases, brings complexity and nuance to black metal without having anything to do with symphonic black metal — and while a symphonic black metal band might claim Queensrÿche, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden as influences (along with Dimmu Borgir and Emperor), this French outfit gets a lot of inspiration from industrial and goth rock. The non-black metal influences that have served Blut Aus Nord well in the past — influences ranging from Godflesh and Killing Joke to the Sisters of Mercy to Neurosis — continue to serve them well on MoRT (which means "Dead" in French). Some black metal enthusiasts may argue that this black metal/alternative metal CD is strictly alternative metal and shouldn't even be called black metal; the vocals are raspy black metal-style vocals, but the brooding material is not structured in a typical black metal fashion — and there are no blastbeats. However one categorizes MoRT — black metal, alternative metal or both — this album is an exciting, memorable listen. Although MoRT has its share of noise, distortion and feedback, the disc is not an exercise in ferocity for the sake of ferocity. MoRT is heavy without being claustrophobic or oppressive, and it is also moody and darkly atmospheric; this release isn't really about songwriting (none of the tunes have a standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus format) but rather, about maintaining a very dark, eerie and gloomy atmosphere. It would be a stretch to call MoRT genuinely disturbing — Blut Aus Nord doesn't convey evil the way that Slayer, one of their influences, conveys evil — but even so, it is a memorable addition to their black metal/alternative metal catalog.


Formed: 1993 in Mondeville, France

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although not well known in the United States, the French black metal/alternative metal band Blut Aus Nord have enjoyed a small underground cult following in Western Europe since the mid-'90s. Blut Aus Nord, unlike many bands in the European death metal/black metal scene, do not govern by brute force alone; while they can be loud, dissonant, intense, and forceful, they are also moody, darkly haunting, and relatively melodic. Atmospherics are quite important to Blut Aus Nord, who thrive on an eerie,...
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MoRT, Blut aus Nord
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