Thursday, May 8, 2008

Blood Axis - Blót - Sacrifice in Sweden (1998)

LONG awaited and well overdue, this opportunity to experience Blood Axis in a live setting has exceeded the expectations of almost everyone who’s had the chance to hear it. Containing some of the most exquisite packaging I’ve ever seen (but look out for the hidden booklet, mind!), this endearing specimen kicks off with Sarabande Oratoria; a combination of Mosleyesque narrative and something resembling one of Bach’s very own organ-laden masterpieces. Next comes the haunting, Odinist chant of Herjafather and probably one of the most hypnotic and atmospheric pieces you’re ever likely to sample. Savour the moment (or moments, depending on how many times you intend to play it). This is followed by an excellent cover version of the Ian Read song, Seeker, a track first released through his very talented Fire + Ice project. Then, amidst the wolves echoed howl, the Electricity begins to flow as Michael Moynihan’s charismatic tones (‘Hail Victory!’) match the complimentary emissions of violin and sampled opera. Lord of Ages has always been a firm favourite of mine (as was the great Mysteria Mithrae CD itself, of which it was part), so I was glad to see its inclusion here, although the next track - The March of Brian Boru - is a pleasant surprise: raw Irish Folk as fiddle and bodhran dance their merry jig within the cold, blowing winds of the Northlands. This is followed by four back-to-back offerings from the band’s epic 1997 CD; namely, The Gospel of Inhumanity, Eternal Soul, Between Birds of Prey and the truly momentous Reign I Forever. After this little quartet comes The Hangman and the Papist, and a chance to hear Michael adopt a more straightforward - and for him, perhaps - unusual style of vocal delivery. Finally, Storm of Steel completes a fitting tribute to the recently departed Ernst Junger and so brings this great CD to a close. One minor criticism. Given that most of these tracks were recorded live, surely the absence of background noise is a trifle strange? On the other hand, either a) the Swedes make very unappreciative audiences (which, according to a later issue of Vor Tru magazine was certainly not the case during this particular performance), b) it was edited out in the studio or c) the mixing desk was unable to detect any kind of applause. But then again, maybe Blood Axis didn’t really play live in Sweden at all and Neil Armstrong did his much publicised ‘moonwalk’ in a Hollywood film studio, for that matter? Oh who cares, anyway? Just buy this CD - it’s another top notch release from the Cold Meat Industry stable and all credit to what in my opinion is still one of the very best underground outfits in existence. (Review taken from:

01 - Sarabande Oratoria
02 - Herjafather
03 - Seeker
04 - Electricity
05 - Lord of Ages
06 - The March of Brian Boru
07 - The Gospel of Inhumanity
08 - Eternal Soul
09 - Between Birds of Prey
10 - Reign I Forever
11 - The Hangman and the Papist
12 - Storm of Steel


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