Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II

Written by: EW on 19/06/2010 13:25:11

Since having granted the previous album of Nachtmystium's my 'Album of 2008' for it's unique and psychedelic take on black metal it was inevitable that the band's next album was going to be a challenging listen for me. Not least because Nachtmystium are a challenging listen, but that "Assassins: Black Meddle Part I" was already some distance past the sign saying 'Thank you for visiting Black Metal. We hope to see you again soon' on the road out of extreme metal into newer pastures, and so part II was only ever going to be over the horizon and far, far away.

Following an uninteresting introduction piece, "Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II" cracks into life with "High on Hate", drenched in a sound that is wonderfully black metal, but not. Dissonance remains a clear feature even now on the band's 5th full length, both in guitar sound and Blake Judd's caustic-as-ever vocals, as the opening to this song shakes rattles and rolls like any true black metal affair until a brief, yet stylistically sexy (a suitable adjective I think so) solo quickly shows how much Nachtmystium are uninterested in sticking to stereotypes these days. While "High on Hate" arguably remains one of the most BM numbers on this record, the following "Nightfall" is Nachtmystium circa 2010 through and through. Incase any lingering doubts remained (or your corpse-painted heart might have wished for a change of heart and a dramatic U-turn), the quaint percussion usage generates a relaxed psychedelic feel that leaves the song a million miles from the cold heart of black metal yet just mere kilometres from it musically. To my mind only Darkthrone have this ability today, a facet that should be celebrated in these oft-derided Americans.

At this point in time however, with fewer listens given to "Addicts" than it's predecessor, "Addicts" begins to lose ground which ultimately it never makes up, with "Then Fires" and the title track, songs that meander along aimlessly without the impetus of either the blacker material or the brilliant psychedelic "Seasick" trilogy that closed "Assassins". This fall into a no man's land of drifting tedious psychedelia is finally broken by "Blood Trance Fusion", a slightly industrialised song (not dissimilar to Jotunspor) which is notable for it's complete rip-off of Venom's classic "Black Metal" in the chorus. Clearly, after defining their own path in recent times it was decided a bit of everyday BM plagiarism was in order...

"Ruined Life Continuum" is highlighted, not for the first time, but some of the intelligent lead work found coming out of bands' guitars before "Every Last Drop" represents a low-key end in comparison to the aforementioned "Seasick" triumvirate. What Nachtmystium have attempted with "Addicts" is in reality pretty simple: they've been brave enough to combine disparate influences into a sound uncompromising and challenging to the established and tired formula of generic black metal. While it's not come off as well as "Assassins" the psyche of Nachtmystium must be hailed for such an achievement and glorified above the cut 'n' paste market of 'true' black metal, an order I'd like to see continually challenged until people realise these guys are more important to the genre than you'd ever believe.


Download: High on Hate, Nightfall, Blood Trance Fusion
For the fans of: Pink Floyd through to Darkthrone
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.06.2010
Century Media Records

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