Nachtmystium‘s demise isn’t near, but they should embrace the time they have left. After signing with major label Century Media, intuitive bands work on the ticking clock that measures the downfall toward mediocrity. Usually, scraggly production is the first thing to go – The Haunted is a prime example. Here, Century Media strips away the hissing recording that complements black metal’s signature hum. This, along with changing vocals, pulls Nachtmystium far away from their true Darkthrone-seasoned flavor.
Evidence of this appears in the second track of Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. I. “Assassins” first strikes with a barrage of fluent blastbeat, blistering riff, and Blake Judd’s familiar Nachtmystium/Twilight rasp. But then comes a putrid chorus that brushes off all of the band’s black metal foliage. In homoerotic camaraderie, the men of Nachtmystium bark, “We feel nothing / And are nothing / Traveling leaches / Rejecting weakness / We stand alone.” With these layman lyrics and repetitive riffs, “Assassins” is the longest Nachtmystium song ever. They trick us in the “Seasick” three-song series with atmospheric interludes that juice Assassins into a tangy citrus. Then the sap turns sour with “Seasick (Part 2: Oceanborne).” The track exemplifies Assassin‘s weak approach to Nachtmystium’s once fierce abomination. After a gentle riff reminiscent of Earth?s ambient psychedelia, a soaring saxophone leaps in, cluttering Assassins with reeking sewage. This shit is rank!
Regardless of what path Nachtmystium take, their old material will always do them justice. Eulogy IV and Instinct: Decay voyage deep into the depths of black death. Their beastly delivery in these releases shells out magnificent, lo-fi fuzz that echoes hauntingly in menacing chambers. This stuff runs thick in my blood, a feeling not easily lost. But such darkness is missing in Assassins. I hope it isn?t the beginning of an end, as it’s barely worthy of an invisible orange.