Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part I
A long time ago, I went and passed up on the chance to hear Nachtmystium because some friends claimed the band to be little more than a gimmick, a sort of mockery of what black metal was all about. It's taken me some time to realize all music deserves a chance. Doing this certainly helps. But what's always amazing is finding out bands I know by name are really damn good and that I had so long to figure it out. Better late than never? Black Meddle Part I instantly left it's mark with me, it's songs all going out of their way to leave footprints in the soil of the soul.
What seperates this black metal from the rest seems to be it's out-of-genre elements; the catchy choruses, the psychadelic atmosphere, and tempos that at times sound like black-rock, brutal but mid-paced and full of fist-pumping energy. After an intro that features one badass riff pattern, the title track (of sorts) "Assassin" kicks up a hellstorm of fury, at first sounding like something cold and bleak from a Wolves In The Throne Room album before shifting towards an awesomely-catchy chorus. This song makes me think of Nachtmystium as a sort of pure black metal Children of Bodom, in the sense that they mix the brutal with the bombast seamlessly, and they repeat the trick over and over again in various ways. The band is at it's best when flowing through extended instrumental passages, when the rather monotonous (but still badass) vocals don't distract from the epic wonders being offered. "Omnivore" also stands out, and the ending 3-track suite "Seasick" is fucking choice, like a black metal rock opera. It's big.
That sums the album up, I think. Very damn big. Songs like those found here don't come around very often in the realm of black metal, songs that stay true to the original ideas and still heap piles of ingenuity and creative spunk atop the blueprint. Nachtmystium deserve to be seen as a pioneer band for just this release, and I'm sure their past efforts at least hint at where this album might take them. I forsee it growing on me more and more because it's quickly become a staple of my collection. Black metal fans (maybe even metal fans in general, as it has a broad appeal), check out Black Meddle Part I.
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