With 777: Cosmosophy, France’s Blut Aus Nord conclude the widely lauded trilogy of albums that began in March of 2011. The first two parts of the concept, 777: Sect(s) and 777: The Desanctification, were mirror images of one another. The former, a sonic assault that at moments referred musically to the band’s landmark 2004 album The Work Which Transforms God, while The Desanctification its opposite, is a glacial, brooding set of blackened atmospherics and textures. Like the notions of thesis and antithesis, 777: Cosmosophy synthesizes both works, and at once reaches beyond their limits, even rejecting them in the process of becoming. Every notion of black metal as a style of music or an attitude is irrelevant here; it is replaced with pure seething emotion. “Epitome XIV” through “XVIII” contain no blastbeats, few guttural vocals (arguably none), and few if any buzzing guitars. In fact, these five compositions, which all open onto one another to close the trilogy, have more in common with industrial music, the blissed-out heaviness of Alcest, the shining darkness of Joy Division, some early gothic rock, and the more menacing moments of Killing Joke. That said, the only concrete references here are found in BAN‘s own music, specifically, in their two brilliant Memoria Vetusta recordings. Melody and harmony are in abundance, but they don’t dictate the proceedings, and instead merely serve them as focal points. Rhythm, space, texture, dynamic, timbre, color, and tonal subtleties are intricately detailed in both performance and production. They all serve to underscore the fact that this trilogy is a holistic experience in listening. This final volume is its summit and lyrically it paints a night sky of ecstatic anguish, where mortal man confronts the void in the center of the universe and discovers that in true emptiness, everything is inextricably linked, full to the point of bursting at the seams. It’s rare that music in the 21st century can be this darkly transcendent, mirroring what French writer Georges Bataille called “l’expérience intérieure,” the inner experience. Cosmosophy may look back for bits of musical information, but it ultimately points forward in many directions simultaneously. It is at once a grand closing gesture, and a genesis opening onto new terrain. Ultimately, Cosmosophy is pure vision.