Calvados, France-based Blut Aus Nord's 777 The Desanctification is one of the most important avant-garde black metal albums of 2011. The album forms the second part of a proposed trilogy that began with 777 Sect(s), released in April of 2011. The third part of the series, Cosmosophy, is slated for release in the spring of 2012. Blut Aus Nord are the primary artistic outlet for black metal visionary Vindsval. The Desanctification is a spiralling, sonorous record that's as difficult to grasp as smoke rings. The sound seems to rise up like blood welling from a wound. The song structures are vast, elliptical patterns that gradually morph, subtly changing with each uneven revolution. The rhythms forming the backbone of each song are unsettlingly organic, always evoking a human heartbeat, whether in the deep, stentorian hammering of "Epitome 12" or the frantic, breathless staccato of "Epitome 8." The entire album is imbued with a sense of gathering strength, sonic elements beginning to congeal and coalesce, energy accreting around a central conceptual structure. The Desanctification feels like nothing so much as the beginning of a hurricane, gathering momentum, devouring wind and cloud in preparation to embark upon its destructive course towards an unwary shore.
Your music has been described as "black hole metal," as a nod to the way you incorporate shoegaze elements, as well as the sheer gravity. Are the 777 albums examples of black hole metal or a move away from that?
Vindsval: The 777 albums could be the work of a ritualist; they are like the echo of light and darkness in the same second. It's maybe "black hole metal": a world of contrast, hypnotic and cosmic, the sound of introspection. Our music is more and more magical and mystic, our artistic approach is more and more occult and we try to reach something else called "the fusion with the zero."
Whereas Sect(s) has a somewhat linear structure, the compositions on The Desanctification is much more elliptical in nature. The music circles around and curls back in on itself, developing and changing slightly with each revolution. What can we expect on Cosmosophy?
Cosmosophy is the album of creative freedom, the album of the instant, the album that annihilates the obsolete concept of time. It contains a great density on the harmonic plane, a lot of very new things and a complex rhythmic approach ― celestial, deep and meditative.
Blut Aus Nord have always been a transformative band. Your work has been instrumental in the development of avant-garde black metal. With the 777 albums, how are Blut Aus Nord attempting to transform the sonic landscape?
We are less interested by the technical approach, probably less complex, but more abstruse, hermetic. We try to explore a religious or mystic dimension with our compositions and there are no limits in this musical and spiritual quest. Black metal is not a defined style of music; it's a feeling and you can inject this subversive feeling everywhere.
Blut Aus Nord rarely perform live. What is your relationship to live performance as an ephemeral art form?
No, we don't perform live, we don't tour and we will never tour. We are not showmen; our music is not composed for entertainment. Blut Aus Nord are an individual, egoist and solitary trip.
Blut Aus Nord are in the midst of an incredibly productive creative cycle. Did you write all these albums at the same time then divide the material thematically into separate albums or were they written in sequence? How are all three albums related to each other musically and thematically?
777 is the collapse of a world of references. 777 is about the annihilation of the obsolete concept of time; it's about the modification of a human soul who becomes a particle of God, a kind of alchemy in the flesh of mankind. The three albums represent this way of evolution, or elevation. All the material is written on paper, with each little detail, a few months before the real work of composition. They are all different, but they constitute together a massive piece of art, logical and coherent.
I recall that you had intended to release all three albums this year. The third album is now scheduled for 2012. Do you think this extended time frame will affect the way the albums will be perceived?
The trilogy will be released in 12 months, but not this year; it was not a good idea. The time between The Desanctification and Cosmosophy was too short for the listeners. We prefer to let them have enough time to explore each album of this trilogy; it's more comfortable.
The sound on 777 Sect(s) seems like a return to the aesthetic you pioneered with the landmark The Work Which Transforms God. Did you intend to use this album as a jumping off point, and if so, why?
Not really, this time we just needed to recover this specific approach, at the same time industrial and aggressive.
You have constantly rejected any nationalist impulse in your musical identity, instead professing kinship with other bands whose ideologies complement yours. However, there seems to be a surge right now in exciting, experimental black metal coming out of France. Do you see yourselves as a part of this or entirely separate from it?
We don't have any contact with French bands and we don't know them; we are not a part of this scene. We are alone and free in our own artistic universe. (Debemur Morti)