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Review: Brulvahnatu - Menstrual Extraction Ceremony
Menstrual Extraction Ceremony

Label: Pagan Flames
Year released: 2011
Duration: 1:08:36
Tracks: 5
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: September 11, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
Menstrual Extraction Ceremony

Rated 4/5 (80%) (8 Votes)

Third album from the eternally obscure Brulvahnatu, a band whose output may have once been held on a now-defunct Bandcamp page but has since become notoriously difficult to get ahold of. Hell, you can't even find sketchy downloads for most of it, which is why it's refreshing to know that this album got some actual distribution via Pagan Flames Productions. However, it also means that the most common introduction to the band is merely good rather than great.

Stylistically, this is a bit more tightly structured than previous releases, with more polished songwriting and a dose of Death Metal influence not present on other works. It also takes the trademark ambience of the band and separates it from the Metal in comparison to other albums, which throttles back the unhinged chaos that makes the band stand out. None of this is to suggest that this album is clean or accessible in any way, and songs like the oddly brief opener "The Book of Forgotten Places" and the prowling "Hunting Season (At an End)" are still led by blasting, winding song structures, guttural roars, and odd, venomous guitar work. There are even more blatantly experimental tunes like "The Gland", which opens with a jazzy piano and saxophone interplay before developing like a more typical Brulvahnatu song, ending with harsh winds and creepy chants without skipping a beat. Not every experiment is successful, though, as the monstrous closing title track is really just a solid 10-minute song with two minutes of silence separating it from 18 goddamn minutes of ambient acoustic diddling that, on the one hand, develops very well and functions perfectly as its own piece but, on the other hand, is just so far removed from the rest of the album as to feel entirely pointless.

This project has always been an experimental outlier in the Black Metal scene, and it's clear that sole member Kib Sreng always worked to push the boundaries of what he could do within the genre, but on this one he stumbled a little in his attempt to refine his signature sound while further expanding upon it. Still, this step down from greatness still leaves us with a solid example of some of the more individual Black Metal you'll ever listen to, which is good since it may well be your only opportunity to introduce yourself to the strange and brilliant world of Brulvahnatu. Recommended.

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Interview with Kib Sreng on October 3, 2020 (Interviewed by Mjölnir)
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