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2.50 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2010


1. I (16:31)
2. II (15:24)

Total Time 31:55


- Vindsval / Guitars, Vocals
- W.D. Feld / Drums, Keyboards
- GhÖst / Bass

About this release

Format: 12" LP
Label: Debemur Morti
Release date: June 10th, 2010

The song is divided into two sections (side A and side B) on the vinyl.

Vinyl only release.

Thanks to Vehemency for the addition and UMUR for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"What Once Was... Liber I" is the 8th full-length studio album by French black metal act Blut Aus Nord. The album was released through Debemur Morti Productions in June 2010. It´s the band´s first release on the label. "What Once Was... Liber I" is a 12" vinyl only release with two side long tracks taking up the running time.

Compared to the last album "Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With the Stars (2009)", which had a melodic edge, the music on "What Once Was... Liber I" is a bit more raw, repetitive, dissonant and atmospheric. Blut Aus Nord are known to experiment with their sound from one release to the next, so it´s actually not that big of a surprise. While there are only two long tracks on the album (16:31 and 15:24 minutes long) they are fragmented and several times during the playing time there are breaks that lasts a second or more, and once the song picks up again, it sounds like a new track. So while there are reoccuring themes throughout the tracks it still sounds like several short songs put together to form two longer ones.

The vocals on the album are raw and raspy and almost completely unintelligible. They are kind of monotone and not exactly full of passion. The sound production is flat and lacks bottom. If there´s a bass playing somewhere, I don´t hear it. The use of a weak sounding drum machine doesn´t help either.

"What Once Was... Liber I" hasn´t left me with a very good impression. The songwriting is fragmented and lacks memorable moments and the production is as mentioned not very powerful sounding and honestly a bit hard to appreciate. Even though the album is only 31:55 minutes long, it´s taken me months to get through the full album. I simply find it too monotone, which makes the album an exhausting listen. Somewhere between a 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.
Conor Fynes
'What Once Was... Liber I' - Blut Aus Nord (4/10)

Since its origins arguably beginning with Bathory's self-titled debut back in 1984, the genre of black metal has since diverged into two contrasting schools. The first of these is primal, garage-recorded, straightforward and overtly anti-Christian in nature whereas the second school tends to take the sound of black metal and push it forward to see what it is capable of. French metal act Blut Aus Nord incorporates sounds of both approaches, giving a rough and blastbeat-saturated ride with their music, but also focusing mostly on making their music unique. With such distinct records as 'The Work Which Transforms God' under their belt, Blut Aus Nord has since garnered a reputation for taking the craft of black metal down some interesting, eerie alleys. While the band's 2010 album 'What Once Was... Liber I' does sport a relatively complex composition and technicality from the band, the end result is unfortunately a piece of work which lacks direction or tightness, and doesn't compare to the band's less orthodox material.

Available only on vinyl or as a digital download, 'Liber' is essentially one long song, divided into halves to make up each side of the vinyl. While the concept of a half-hour long song is quite promising to begin with, Blut Aus Nord unfortunately forgets to tie in the music into one cohesive piece of work, instead coming across as a seemingly perpetual flow of riffs, blastbeats and garbled black metal rasps. There are no particularly endearing riffs or musical ideas that stand out and carry on throughout the EP. Instead, Blut Aus Nord is content to compile riffs and musical ideas into something that begins feeling more like a cycle of riffs over any particularly well-calculated composition, regardless of how strong the riffs may be, which- given the style- certainly have merit to them.

The guitars here are the main attraction, bringing a new eerie and burstfire riff to the table with each new moment. However, they dominate the mix, leaving the drums feeling somewhat weak, and the bass practically inaudible. Worst of all are the vocals, which do manage to do a fairly good job of being traditional black metal snarls for the most part, but get very muddied and difficult to enjoy when multiple vocal tracks are introduced, making a vocal noise that is utterly indecipherable.

A somewhat weak album from this French black metal band, although it is not completely without its merit.

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