Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blut aus Nord - Ultima Thulee (1995)
On first listen, one would hardly believe that this masterpiece of atmospheric/Viking black metal was made by the same band that made such albums as "The Work Which Transforms God" and the "777" trilogy. Indeed, there's no trace on "Ultima Thulee" of the industrial coldness the band would later incorporate and make their signature sound. Instead, this is something more in the vein of early Bathory with a bleak guitar tone, agonizing screams, haunting synth melodies, epic riffs, and tales of Viking heroism. Perhaps some of the most poignant moments on the album are the medieval Gregorian chanting of "My Prayer Beyond Ginnungagap" and the incredibly adventurous "The Last Journey of Ringhorn." Though I've only listened once, it is quite apparent that this is an underrated classic belonging in the same class as Bathory's "Blood Fire Death," Coldworld's "Melancholie" and Paysage d'Hiver's "Winterkalte." Black metal fans: this one's unmissable.

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