ALBUM REVIEW: Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Nahal


Disharmonium – Nahal (Debemur Morti Productions) is the sixteenth full-length release from Blut Aus Nord, the enigmatic French avant-garde black metal band that have now existed for thirty years. Following on from last year’s Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses, this new record also draws inspiration from H.P Lovecraft and is claimed by its accompanying press release to be “womb-like, detail-rich, disturbed and transformative”. 

‘Disturbed’ seems to be the most apt of the aforementioned descriptors. The music here sounds like it is being piped from some kind of terrifying and grotesque alternative universe. Underpinned by dextrous jazz-infused syncopated drum patterns that skitter and jolt with a strange and lopsided grace and flow, the guitar and bass parts sound as though they’ve been digested by some kind of unearthly demon and vomited out again. Dissonant harmonies and eccentric arpeggios cascade over each other to create mind-bendingly delirious textures that walk the thin line between complex orchestration and cacophonous noise. 


The vocals are suitably eerie and unconventional, consisting mostly of bleak and threatening growls that are mixed so as to arrive from the outer edges of the stereo spectrum rather than the centre.


But it’s not all “disharmonium”. There are some sublime guitar (and possibly synth) melodies, such as the haunting ostinatos on “Queen of the Dead Dimension” and the epically sorrowful lines towards the end of “Nameless Rites”. The use of layered melodic choir vocals also brings a sense of mysticism to tracks such as “The Crowning Horror”. And there are some (slightly) more traditional metal riffs that cut through the chaos in places, like the Godflesh-esque stomp in the middle of “Queen of the Dead Dimension”, or the sludgy doom segments of “The Endless Multitude”. 



\The album is also broken up by three short interludes (all entitled “Hideous Dream Opus” and numbered) that are based around unsettlingly ethereal ambient atmospheres.


The production and mixing is exemplary, albeit unconventional. Although the instruments and vocals seem to bleed into one another to create something of a stirred-up and entangled sound, each instrumental part is actually quite clearly audible and the guitar tones, whilst not lacking in aggression, are far less distorted than one might expect from an extreme metal album. 


With Disharmonium — Nahal Blut Aus Nord continue to build on their record of pushing the boundaries of what black metal, and “extreme” music generally, can encompass. It is an outlandishly unconventional soundtrack to a dark and peculiar nightmare, deceptively subtle and nuanced underneath its fearsome and perplexing exterior.


Buy the album here:


 8 / 10