German Black Metal outfit Blood Torrent are back with their second studio full length, Void Universe, which is, not surprisingly, as deep thinking in content as the band’s name. Their name is derived from the idea that “blood is the secret and origin of life and death,” the band said. “Blood means birth and transformation, sacrifice and death. As long as blood flows, existence is in flux.”
Blood Torrent – Void Universe (Trollzorn)
Release Date: 8 April 2022
Words: Jools Green
Lyrically, the songs contain elements and themes from various artists and authors, such as Leonardo Da Vinci and George Orwell, and address existential theory, misanthropy, subversion, and social and system critical content. The lyrics also deal with topics such as mental illnesses or the relationship between humanity and nature.
Although Void Universe is not a concept album as such, there is a recurring theme within the lyrics between “the argument of self-extinction within the Fermi Paradox,” the band said. “It raises the question of what would happen if society could start again. And according to the argument of self-extinction, every high culture will always self-destruct from a certain point on. No matter how often it could start over.
“It is a pre-programmed collapse of civilizations and appears to be an irrefutable law of nature. This principle is particularly important to mankind. And in any case, it shows that the whole cosmos is changing.”
The band members have a combined interest in the first wave of Black Metal, along with Heavy Metal and hard rock of the ’70s and ’80s, and this is very much reflected in their unique sound, a raw and, when necessary for effect, slightly lo-fi, meld of old school Black Metal with progressive elements alongside influences of classic Hard Rock and Punk.
This is a description that, in many ways, doesn’t actually do justice to just how innovative, unique and varied their sound actually is.
Void Universe opens on The Renascence, a slightly industrial sounding short intro that leads into A Knowledge of Light, where sirens and slow guitars build an ominous atmosphere, steadily maintaining the blackened sinister quality.
The vocal delivery is superb, raw acerbic and perfectly suited for the bleak message within the lyrics, both here and across the album and the retro-styled leadwork in the second half adds a good contrast.
The next two tracks focus on what is, across the album, a big lyrical topic, that of transformation. The first, Decay And Transformation, delivers old school Black Metal. It’s raw and driving, punctuated with searing leadwork, acidly vitriolic vocals, and some great drum work that adds texture, flowing into The Cosmic Breakdown, which has a subtle groove and reflective guitar segments to its black acidic sound and otherwise driving delivery.
Elemental Scorn continues in that determined and blackened, predominantly slower pace, dropping in a few direction switches to keep your interest. If the addictive riffs don’t already do that, the vocals are also hugely expressive.
Necromass is a dark, intense driving beast, with a slightly discordant riffing midway, which adds variance and interest. The intensity is punctuated by the slightly cinematic, slightly industrial interlude, Raised Knives, before the blackened onslaught returns with Phantom Propaganda, a dark driver but with a subtle flourish and discordant element to the riffing. This tails off to a slower blackened crush followed by searing lead work towards the close, and on Prisma, fuzzy guitar and drum rhythms grab your attention from the offset.
The closing track, The Strive, is the album’s wild card. A monster at eleven and a half minutes, this is a hard rock blast from the past with cleaner vocals, which develops aspects of a rawer blacker mood in the second half, where you also get a huge, excellent closing chunk of lead work. This also has a retro feel, a little bit different from the usual outro bands often end with.
Void Universe is a hard album to pick favourite tracks from, so I won’t try. Each has its own merit across an album that is well varied and holds your attention. It will be available via Alive(distro).