Blut aus Nord

What Once Was - Liber I

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This is a CD reissue of a title previously only available on vinyl via Debemur Mortii Productions. It was released between Blut Aus Nord's 2009 offering Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars and 2011's 777: Sect(s). (Second and third volumes were issued after the other two chapters in the 777 trilogy.) One of the most provocative things about the vinyl issue was that there were no notes other than the band's name, the title, and the label name. There was no track listing, just four cuts on each side, and no playing speed listed. That made for some interesting reviews. Some writers indicated that Liber I, when played at 33 rpm, reflected early death metal, while others, who played it at the correct speed of 45 rpm, stated it was representative of second-generation black metal. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Sonically, one might hear a resemblance to the textures and dynamics of the Odinist album, but that's where the similarities stop. With the exception of the atmospherics that introduce each track and are usually layered in the middle under the blast of guitars, drums, and who knows what else, the pace is furious and fast, and the feel is seriously evil. The angular riffing on tracks two through four recall moments from The Work Which Transforms God, while the slightly slower wall of ground-out blackness on tracks six though eight pushes at the same barriers that Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Ages did. Everything here feels immediate, non-calculated, and more menacing than the conceptual work the band has become known for. Hearing it in a single 31-minute session on CD is more satisfying and more of a mind-melting experience than taking a pause to flip an LP over and start again. Though Liber I is deliberate in its lack of context -- leading the listener to believe that this is BAN just mucking about in the studio -- it is as deliberate and structured and purposeful as any of the group's "proper" projects.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
4:09
2
4:56
3
3:31
4
3:36
5
4:10
6
3:08
7
4:05
8
3:46
blue highlight denotes track pick