You never quite know what you’re going to be getting with a Blut Aus Nord release, and on Hallucinogen the band have mutated once again. Their latest incarnation is an avant-garde progressive black metal monster, emphasising atmosphere and feeling via engaging blackened soundscapes.
More atmospheric and melodic than their more dissonant and industrial work, this album is more reminiscent of their Memoria Vetusta line of albums, only taken to the next level in terms of melody and progressive influences. The psychedelia is strong with this album, and I particularly enjoy some of the guitar solos we’re presented with – some of which could be taken from 70s progressive rock albums in some ways.
These songs seem to take to the cosmos with exploratory songs of epic grandeur. There’s a hallucinogenic, (ahem), dreamlike quality to this music, and the entire album is designed to draw you into its warm, engrossing embrace. Even the vocals – consisting largely of chants and choirs – mostly forgo the harshness of traditional black metal and instead exist to add just another layer to the sumptuous musical feast that Blut Aus Nord provide for the listener. Eat up.
Best taken as a whole, Hallucinogen is a compelling piece of work that feels like an instrumental album despite the many vocal contributions. Although I’m sure that the nature of this album won’t appeal to everyone, it’s worth taking the time to explore and digest, as it’s very much a collection of music that grows on you over time.