Album Review: Blut - Hermeneutics
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
There will be few more challenging albums to review this year. A project primarily as a free artistic expression for Alessandro Schumperlin, ‘Hermeneutics’ takes a journey into the mind, through the 22 Major Arcana, the name given to the trump cards in a deck of Tarot cards. Each of the 22 songs here is a tarot, a manifestation of the will of each card. With Schumperlin’s gruff vocals contrasting with the high pitched, at times operatic style of Chiara Manese, the male and female delivery interpreting each card as a character on the stage of life.
22 songs then. It’s an undertaking to listen to. 70 minutes that vary from just a minute or so in length through to the six minute plus ‘XIII – Death’. Much of the album is dominated by an industrial electronica beat and flavour, but this is contrasted by psychedelic segments, thick almost thrash style riffing, eerie diversions into haunting, strange, Eurovision pop.
Opening with ‘0 The Fool’, which is an interplay between thick synths and a digital drum beat, the only words the repetition of the Joker, “Why so Serious?” ‘I- The Magician’ erupts in complete contrast, the gruff vocals and chaotic soundscape a blur of Max Cavalera-esque vocals before it changes feel completely with clean female singing, that Eurovision beat and then returns to the initial style. It’s all a bit bewildering to be honest.
‘Hermeneutics’ is a journey which really challenges the listener. Tracks such as ‘V – The Hierophant’, with its monastic chanting that departs into a flashing miasma of light and darkness, ‘IX – The Hermit’, a confusing blend of Pet Shop Boys and Soulfly bewitch and dazzle, ‘X – The Wheel of Fortune’, a shimmering cacophony of echoing vocals, xylophone and synth beats and ‘XI – The Justice’, with its operatic soprano delivery that really confuse all link together in some shape or form. I’m sure that this album will reach deep into human spirituality, if that is what you desire. I freely admit this album confused and enticed me in equal measure. I was no clearer at the end than I was at the start. It’s an album I can neither recommend nor dismiss. I can only invite you to try it for yourself.
Blut features Alessandro Schümperlin: Voice, programming, (de)composer, backing vocals, bass; Chiara Manese: Voice, Performer, Backing vocals; Stefano Corona: Programming, electro bass, percussions loops, groove and Marco Borghi: live Guitars, arrangements, bass. Mixed and mastered at Real Sound Studio in Milan with special guest Emanuele "Lele" Laghi (Drakkar and Crimson Dawn) on the track ‘XV - The Devil’.