Blut – Hermeneutics Review

Day 43: This blasted Blut album is almost finished. I “only” have thirteen tracks left. It feels like my bowels have been twisted into such a catastrophic knotfest (honestly, I would rather attend Knotfest at this point) that if I ate anything it might be a death sentence by itself. My only respite is knowing that I’ve somehow managed to make it past the halfway point. I’ve lost all of my hair, and I can no longer smell things properly. I haven’t slept in weeks, but if I can avoid wasting away by the dim light of my media player on my computer monitor, I’ll find the sweet release of death as a welcome reward. May the gods see my plight and show mercy on my soul.

This is the last time I pick up something that more respectable reviewers wouldn’t. Steel Druhm, in his infinite wisdom, decided he had some other unfathomable thing to do besides review Hermeneutics, the fifth LP by Italian-Swiss symphonic prog-metal band Blut1. How I survived it once, let alone multiple times, I cannot explain. It has all of the pieces required for a metal album to, you know, exist. Yet, much like a puzzle where someone smashed jiggies into each other with no regard for the integrity of the final portrait, Blut smashed whatever the fuck they felt like writing together in a scatterbrained attempt to create something avant-garde. The end product is truly twisted, evil and ugly, so much so that a mother would simply abandon it where it slithered free of the womb.

Surely there must be something good to say about Hermeneutics, though, right? Alas, there is but one thing, and even then, that one small sparkly gem in a sea of garbage is simply not worth swimming through refuse to rescue. Chiara Manese is far and away the biggest asset at Blut’s disposal. Her operatic vocals strongly recall the crystalline Manuela Kraller (ex-Xandria, ex-Haggard), who remains one of my favorite operatic vocalists. Unfortunately, Chiara only utilizes her soprano range occasionally, and in all other areas resorts to insipid pop-centric vox that have no bite. To make matters worse, it feels like she received bad direction when recording her parts, because despite hitting her notes reliably, rarely do they jive with the surrounding music.

Speaking of the surrounding music, regrettable decisions inundate Hermeneutics. “The Magician,” “The Hermit,” and “The Wheel of Fortune,” to name the smallest sample imaginable, represent some of the most mind-numbing and intolerable output this site has ever received. Sure, we’ve reviewed less listenable (Tetragrammacide), more pretentious (Python) and even just a tad more insufferable (Denial Fiend) material, but nothing that stuffed so many moving parts into one machine which ended up as one-dimensional and ill-conceived as this. Of twenty-two tracks, just over half of them lack even a semblance of a concrete idea, and therefore do not qualify as anything more than an interruption of my life. To add insult to injury, the remaining portion exclusively contains annoying interludes. One such interlude, tacked on to the morbidly bloated “XIII,” consists entirely of an older woman chanting, “When the Devil’s in the mood… nightmares… come POURING out of Hell!” This particular moment is notable because it feels right at home with the gutless delivery of everything around it, yet it’s also the most compelling single performance by any contributor on record. The following track is a “ballad,” which is pretty only when you pay it no mind. As soon as any attention is directed towards the stilted melodies, the entire song loses charm and impact. But you barely have enough time to make that effort anyway, as it’s barely over a minute long. Are you ready for the bad news yet? At this point, we still have twenty fucking minutes of tripe left before the torturous affair comes to an end, and you must live with the knowledge that you already wasted fifty minutes of your life to get there.

I could go on for hours, beating this record to death with the carcass of the very same horse it beat to death, but with every word I pen,I lose another week of my life. Hermeneutics is a hot fucking mess—worse even than Until the Sky Dies—with so little to offer that at times I prayed that I wouldn’t have to listen to it again. Relief eludes me. I am honor-bound to spin it once more, just to make absolutely sure it’s as grotesque as it was however many spins ago. So, as I shrivel and die before this insidious thing to which I’ve so fruitlessly committed time and effort, hear my plea. Don’t venture here. Whatever you do, if you see but a glimpse of this record on your horizon, run. Run far. Run fast.

Rating: 0.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: ∼190 kbps VBR mp3
Label: AUSR Digital
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: May 29th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. This was a trap. – Steel
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