Album Review: Blutvial – Curses Thorns Blood

Blutvial [UK]
Curses Thorns Blood
Full Length
Haintic/Mordgrimm (Reissue)
Black Metal

After the outstanding releases of <code> and more recently, Binah, receiving yet another Aort-related band, Blutvial was definitely a pleasant surprise. It almost feels as though there is no need for rest for this musician. What’s even more surprising is the fact that on this sophomore album of Blutvial, entitled Curses Thorns Blood, Aort handles not only the usual stringed instruments but also the drums on the release. With the first press of this album quickly selling out and a reissue to be released under cult black and doom metal label Mordgrimm, this promises to be yet another excellent, top-quality release.

As already evident, no two bands that Aort has been involved in thus far has sounded the same, with <code>, Binah and Indesinence all playing rather vastly different styles of extreme metal, and on Curses Thorns BloodBlutvial proves to be the same, presenting a different sound compared to his other black metal band, <code>. The material here is pure aggression and hate, with the riffs hitting the listener in his face right from the opening second of At the Stones We Gather. The gritty production on the album also gets the listener immediately, and this does nothing but make the overall sound of the band even colder, harsher and more hard-hitting than a production any cleaner could possibly give.

The playing style and the atmosphere in the music all points towards a more Norwegian-styled black metal rather than the almost avant-garde and experimental style that <code> indulges in, and this is definitely a nice surprise to fans of Aort’s work. The band’s songwriting abilities are evident, conjuring a cold and hostile atmosphere without the need for the usage of keyboards to create a backdrop and relying on the riffs and the pure hatred of Ewchymlaen’s vocals to do so with ease, most evident on songs like Blackthorn Winter with the entire wall of sound created by the guitars that hits the listener. Unlike the typical high-pitched shrieks often utilised though, Ewchymlaen prefers a strained growl, making the music sound even more tortured and harsh. The alternating between the guitar-playing style from one that focusses on the atmospheric aspect to a more aggressive one at times reminds listeners of releases by bands like Tsjuder and Krypt, a further nod towards the Norwegian influences that the band has put into their music. This all the more so, as the band constantly alternates between faster, aggressive sections and slower and colder ones with songs like Tirade Against Oversocialisation. Zemorgh’s drumming on the album as well is nothing particularly technical, preferring to rip the listener’s face into shards with his high energy and straightforward blasting throughout the album.

Once again, Aort has proven his musical ingenuity with Blutvial‘s Curses Thorns Blood. Not a single boring moment is contained on this release, and the music on Curses Thorns Blood is sure to please fans of Norwegian black metal.

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