Label: Heidens Hart Records
Mysteries of Earth is not a complicated record – and I say that as a compliment. The third album from UK black metal veterans Blutvial is filled with the kind of music that cuts to the core of the ‘traditional’ black metal sound, as if the genre reached its final evolutionary state somewhere around 1994. This is no bad thing; there is a genuine delight to be found in records such as this, where the artists involved combine what they love about a core set of influences and create something that doesn’t sound exactly like any of them. It may be second wave worship through-and-through; but it’s second wave worship done right, and that raises it above most of the competition out there.
Opener ‘Beneath the Moon’ is as good a summary of what to expect from Mysteries of Earth as anything. Ice-cold leads and frostbitten riffs abound, recalling classics such as Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism and Pentagram with its wintery atmosphere, and also with its muscular strength. There is real violence contained within the album, especially on shorter tracks like ‘Black Silence’ and ‘Existential Rite’, that give Mysteries of Earth a feeling of depravity and danger that many other second-wave inspired bands and albums so sorely lack.
One of the other strengths of the album is the sheer levels of passion displayed throughout. Given its take-no-prisoners approach, Mysteries of Earth feels incredibly convincing in its attempts to take a classic sound and revitalize it, and Blutvial’s evident talent and devotion ensures it does just that. This is no case of imitating your idols because that’s all you know how to do; an album like this is the result of many hours finely honing the details, right down to the feel of the raw, DIY production.
It’s that sense of conviction and passion that ultimately makes Mysteries of Earth succeed. It is not an album that will alter your perceptions of what black metal can be or do; and nor is it intended to be. This is black metal not so much as an evolutionary dead end, but as its final form; as if the style they started was both the earliest and ultimate expression of such misanthropy. All of which makes Mysteries of Earth an album that is not aimed at those who seek something new or different; but if you are looking for something that celebrates the sounds of old, whilst making them sound as fresh and vicious as ever, then this could be just what you want.
Mysteries of Earth can be ordered on CD via Heidens Hart mailorder.