Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Blut - Grief and Incurable Pain/Ritual and Ceremony
Ritualistic drone doom gets bad rep these days. A few years ago it was all the rage, but it seems no one really wants to get their hands dirty anymore. And fuck Sunn O))) - they don't deserve half the acclaim they get. While the drone doom genre may be lacking, this could be partly due to my own ignorance; I'm usually content with Corrupted repeats and a local act from these parts called Drowning Horse so I don't feel the need to search out other, newer groups. But this is where Blut makes their entry. A two-piece outfit from the UK, Blut combine noise and a lo-fi aesthetic to further emphasis the 'ritualistic' component of their style.
As far as I know, Blut has several releases under their belt - I received only two of these in the mail, but apparently they are the band's two full lengths, last year's Ritual and Ceremony and the recently released Grief and Incurable Pain. Both records are very similar in sound and style, combining colossal riffs with long and painfully slow passages of murky, droning ambience. It can be said with some certainty that Blut's style is not incredibly palatable, but this is merely from the outset. With repeated listens I've found a plethora of depth to these overly excessive recordings.
The way atmosphere is handled by the duo is surprisingly good. More often than not, the types of people making this kind of music don't really have any idea what they're doing and end up creating long songs that are boring as shit, feel like they go nowhere, and certainly don't help the listener 'transcend' to an alternate plane or whatever the fuck the intention is. There are little things here (remember, it's always the little things) that just make it for me. Both records are heavily textured, albeit in an extremely lo-fi manner, with layers and layers of fuzz cushioning the constantly rolling riffs. The noise and ambient passages are ritualistic by every definition of the word, and the occasional synth work that Blut utilises makes for some interesting vibes. In actual fact the noise/ambient passages remind me of 70s horror films, but without the four decades of deteriorating shock value.
What is most (un)pleasant about Blut is the sheer filthiness of the recording. The drums are completely buried, and sound entirely suffocated under the weight of the riffs. Leadwork is also put to use, arching over the murkiness of the songs. Good examples are in 'Death.Mourning.Famine' from Grief and Incurable Pain or 'Throne Ritual' from Ritual and Ceremony. The latter track goes for 24 minutes, and after building up a lumbering riff for a little over 6, throws in this harrowing black metal inspired tremolo-ed riffage, which sits perfectly with the overall mood of the track. Similar moments are strewn across both albums, and make the build-ups even more exhilarating. And just because I'm a lazy writer, I'm just going to tack this onto the end of the paragraph - no, Blut is not instrumental. The vocals aren't overly used, but they're mostly disgusting and completely unintelligible shrieks and gutturals. Whether this affects your decision to hear the band or not is irrevelent of the fact that they work perfectly with the music at hand.
Blut have requested that I upload the two albums I received, so both are available below uploaded at 320kbps. I highly recommend this to fans of this style, particularly to anyone who wants a little foulness in the wake of Corrupted's overly clean recent offering. Check out their website for more information on other releases (the availability of which I'm uncertain).
Ritual and Ceremony
Grief and Incurable Pain