Nachtmystium - _Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1_
(Candlelight Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (9 out of 10)
You'd have to be either deaf, illiterate or simply entirely disinterested in extreme music (in which case, you're in the wrong place, pal) not to have caught at least a whiff of the hype building around Chicago's Nachtmystium over the past few years. Nevermind the fact that they've somehow managed to dupe a sizeable quotient of purists into thinking that they're the second coming of Mayhem, but the phrase "the future of black metal" has been bandied about in reference to them with more regularity than screams of agony in an S&M dungeon.

Still, I share my former colleague Todd DePalma's sentiments that Nachtmystium have yet to thoroughly validate the hoopla. They've come close certainly; 2006's _Instinct Decay_ was solid, but too often its ambition fell underfoot when its creators' experimental urges got out of hand. _Assassins_ presents a marked departure, at least in this regard. Blake Judd's borderline schoolboy-crush on Pink Floyd's experimental psychedelic rock may already be thrust to the fore before you've even taken the shrink wrap off the disc, but from the opening strains of Nachtmystium's fourth full-length, it becomes apparent that the band have learned to pace themselves creatively, only diving into leftfield territory when the occasion calls for it.

This amounts to a significantly more effective and arresting dynamic, particularly on tracks like "Assassins" and "Your True Enemy", which rock hard with vitriolic spite throughout, eclectic influences only cropping up when they're going embellish upon, rather than detract from the fever-pitch. "Code Negative" meanwhile bristles with evervescent atmosphere that recalls the stark, chilling misanthropy of Burzum's _Filosofem_, albeit with a deft virtuosity that Varg Vikernes could only ever dream of. Even the final trilogy of "Seasick" -- all three pieces a decided step away from the rest of the album's organic violence -- blends perfectly into the maelstrom, almost intentionally setting us up for a sequel which truthfully can not come soon enough. While we wait however, you can rest assured that you'll see this album on countless ten best lists come the end of 2008 -- and deservedly so.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/nachtmystium

(article published 9/8/2008)


ALBUMS
8/16/2009 J Ulrey 7 Nachtmystium - Doomsday Derelicts
7/5/2006 T DePalma 6.5 Nachtmystium - Instinct: Decay
3/26/2006 T DePalma 2 Nachtmystium - Nachtmystium
12/31/2004 M Noll 9 Nachtmystium - Eulogy IV
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