Saturday, 8 October 2011
[ALBUM REVIEW] Blóðtrú - A Brighter Sun
3. In Purity and in Light
4. When No Animal Bled for Us
A Brighter Sun, the follow up to Blóðtrú’s debut The Death of the Spirit, is a strange one. On first impressions, judging by the eye catching cover art I was prepared for some sort of pagan-esque black metal. On the contrary, for A Brighter Sun essentially two parts black metal, one part droning ambient. I’m not going to beat around the bush here; initially I was extremely underwhelmed by A Brighter Sun, it is an extremely raw and inaccessible release. It will take time to sink in and get your head around what Trua has on show here, but putting yourself into the eyes of the figures on the cover and you may begin to understand Blóðtrú’s almost-nautical black drone.
The first two tracks are the weaker here, and they just so happen to contain the majority of black metal on the album. An obscure drone underneath some erratic drumming opens “Rising” which a pissed off sounding Trua rants over the top of like some sort of rally, before halfway through enters a dreary, continual black metal riff which follows Trua’s spite filled vocals to the end of the song. It’s extremely hateful stuff on show here, and by the time it gets interesting, it’s too late and the song is over. “Damaged” follows a similar pattern, a basic riff to begin before kicking up to some wholly unoriginal fast tremolo riffing and static drumming. I have to commend Trua’s vocals though, they have power behind them and when in unison with the final riff, it’s effective.
By now it’s pretty obvious that the main focus is around the building of an atmosphere rather than creating something that you might be able to nod your head to, and that's none more evident than in the nineteen minute colossus “In Purity and in Light”. It crawls along for the first half in that droning black style, with its ebbing riff work and outro you may be able to see where I’m coming from with the ‘nautical’ feel. “When No Animal Bled For Us” is the real highlight here though, and where Blóðtrú show a significant amount of promise. Discarding the metal altogether, they adopt a minimalistic drone approach that’s flat out hypnotising. An isolated piano melody over a vague drone create an introspective soundscape that’s utterly bereft of life and downright depressing, and the way in which the wind and accordion together with the samples close out the song is nothing short of unnerving. My only gripe lies in the vocals which are heavily processed and far too loud, a tad more subtlety and less volume needed here.
It’s a testing listen; not everyone will appreciate it first time around, but give it a little time before dismissing it completely. A Brighter Sun is impenetrable, stripped down droning black metal built around a core of hate and desolation, which at times sounds as if it doesn’t really know quite where to go. My advice to Blóðtru? Drop the black metal, the ambient aspect of this release shows a lot more promise than third rate black metal riffing.