Nachtmystium - _Eulogy IV_
(Total Holocaust Records, 2004)
by: Matthias Noll (9 out of 10)
This MCD is the newest release by Nachtmystium from the US of A. In comparison to the vinyl version with three extra tracks (two Ildjarn, one VON cover), the CD contains only the five originals, one of which is an instrumental. Nachtmystium's sound is of course not built from scratch, but instead based on the work of other USBM acts like Judas Iscariot. But this band has evolved tremendously, and has been successfully refining their approach, enrichening it with their own ideas -- I'd even go so far as to call some of what they're doing now original.

What mainly sets Nachmystium apart from countless others is their use of guitar solos and melodies. The soaring, ethereal lead guitar work on most tracks adds an excellent melancholic beauty and epic touch to their compositions without ever sounding cheesy or pompous to my ears. Nachtmystium's overall approach and the production values still qualify them as raw black metal, but as far as the actual melodic content and its impact goes, the single and only roughly valid comparison I can come up with would be Agalloch without the folk influences and acoustic bits. While these elements have already been present on parts of _Demise_, tracks two to four on _Eulogy IV_ are consistently in this style and each of them is excellent. I really hope and wish that this is exactly the direction Nachtmystium will explore on future releases.

Only the ripping opening track "My Vengeance" is different and features an ultra-cool thrash vibe and a monstrous headbanging riff, which is proof that the band is also capable of composing killer tracks in a far simpler and much more immediate style than the rest of this excellent EP. In comparison to the great but somewhat inconsistent _Demise_, Nachtmystium have made another giant step in a very short amount of time. I sense so much potential in this band that I'm already becoming afraid they might not be able to explore it to the fullest.

(article published 31/12/2004)

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