There are very few bands in either death metal or black metal that can be truly unsettling. On the death metal side, Slayer is one of the few; on the black metal side, the infamous Gorgoroth is among the few. If one believes Blut Aus Nord's hype, Odinist: The Destruction of Reason by Illumination and other releases by this French black metal/alternative metal band project more evil than Beelzebub himself -- and perhaps someone who spends a lot of time hanging out with Focus on the Family and the Christian Coalition might actually buy into that. But truth be told, this 2007 release is never genuinely unsettling the way that Slayer (one of Blut Aus Nord's influences) and Gorgoroth are. Odinist is, however, an engaging and worthwhile example of black metal's ability to absorb a variety of influences and use them in a highly productive way. Blut Aus Nord was never known for a by-the-book approach to black metal; they are certainly relevant to it, but while some bands in the genre might be content to simply emulate Dark Funeral or Marduk (or Cradle of Filth if they are going for something more elaborate), Blut Aus Nord has been influenced by everyone from Neurosis and Slayer to goth rock and industrial rockers like Godflesh. Put all of those influences together, and you have a black metal/alternative metal band that plays by its own rules on a disc that -- although definitely heavy -- is really about maintaining a dark, moody, somber atmosphere rather than beating and pummeling the listener into submission. Odinist is a demonstration of the fact that while Blut Aus Nord's recordings will not leave listeners trembling in fear, these Frenchmen still know how to provide interesting, worthwhile black and alternative metal.