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Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry CD (album) cover

MEMORIA VETUSTA III: SATURNIAN POETRY

Blut Aus Nord

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.96 | 9 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry' - Blut aus Nord (84/100)

It may have been disappointing as a true successor to Dialogue with the Stars, but Vindsval's third statement in his Memoria Vetusta series kept in touch with its goals more than listeners generally cared to notice. Starting with Fathers of the Icy Age and certainly culminating on Dialogue with the Stars five years before this, a Memoria Vetusta album releases Blut aus Nord swirling guitar trademarks from a context that is typically dissonant and mechanical. Even if he's only travelled this path a handful of times in his career, each MV album is a proud testament that Vindsval's vision is totally compatible with the organic, warm and melodic.

Saturnian Poetry had the impossible task of following up one of my favourite albums of all time. Dialogue with the Stars was there for me at a rough stint in my life, and I don't think it would be possible for another Blut aus Nord album to strike me so hard. With the perfection of MVII in mind, it was a clever move to forego a standard sequel and instead push the series towards its expressed goal as a whole. A small but monumental decision to go forward is the inclusion of a real drummer-- the first in Blut aus Nord history. Drummer Thorns has sown his oats on everything from Acherontas to Frostmoon Eclipse records. Here, he shows a strong understanding of what Vindsval typically wants out of his percussion. Take the unprecedented live drummer with the gorgeous artwork and warm production, and you can really tell Vindsval opened his music to its potential humanity.

Gone are a lot of the distinct melodies and keyboard arrangements from Dialogue with the Stars. In making Memoria Vetusta appropriately organic, Blut aus Nord have also gone more straightforward and traditional. That's not to say that Saturnian Poetry is less challenging; the jarring chord progressions are still every bit as unpredictable. The songwriting on Saturnian Poetry is actually some of the most consistently realized I've ever heard on a BaN album. If there's ever an issue with it really, it would simply be that the vision is narrower. Vindsval doesn't clamber for the same outlandish high points that Dialogue with the Stars was rife with. Saturnian Poetry draws from a standard atmospheric black metal template. The undermixed vocals and signature guitars still make Saturnian Poetry unmistakably BaN, but it's understandable that some fans would be let down by this decision.

If Saturnian Poetry is a less ambitious Blut aus Nord album, in a series that is usually seen as cornerstones of their career, I wouldn't know the criticism when I'm actually listening to it. While it didn't hit me with the same instant awe as Dialogue with the Stars, the homogeneous black metal swirling here has some of Vindsval's best riffs. While the smaller scope probably justifies Saturnian Poetry as a "lesser" MV album, it arguably enjoys better flow and execution than its predecessors. Saturnian Poetry is a special grower in a storied career full of them. Each time I hear it, I think I enjoy it a little bit more.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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