Nachtmystium - Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. 2
Century Media
Black Metal
10 songs (48:01)
Release year: 2010
Nachtmystium, Century Media
Reviewed by Charles
It shouldn’t surprise anybody that my expectations were high for this. Not only was Assassins a highlight of a couple of years back, but Blake Judd’s evident influence over last month’s Twilight album has made him at least in part responsible for 2010’s best black metal release so far. Does it disappoint? No- although it might take a little more time to sink in.

As befitting something billed explicitly as a sequel, this is unlikely to really shake the more orthodox that weren’t already cast aside by Assassins. In fact, on first impressions it seems like a leap back in time. Aside from the grey and grim cover art, this conspicuously does away with the rich, Hawkwind-like jam that formed the introduction to Assassins and instead has some slightly pointless sound effects, a bit like the prelude to Varg Vikernes’s latest. Moreover proper opener High on Hate seems to work effectively as an evil twin to the title track from its predecessor; its similarly catchy, chorus-orientated black metal is here married to an utterly primitive rhythm section replete with the kind of cannon-like bass drum booms that give it a beautifully unreconstructed, warlike feel.

But this opening salvo aside, the prog influences Nachtmystium have been dilligently co-opting have generally sunk in more evenly than before. Whereas on Assassins the Floyd-ian streak was more or less confined by a domineering black metal to a little trilogy at the end of the album in which it could find full voice, here each track bears the hallmark of some kind of intermingling.

Let’s get the sore thumb out of the way. There are rare points where the band seems to wilfully go several steps too far. Specifically, the gaudy quasi-techno overtones to No Funeral, in the context of a black metal album, are akin to turning up at a particularly sophisticated dinner party with some Frosty Jack’s cider and a multipack of Wotsits. It’s like those clever, menacing synthy elements that added so much to older albums like Instinct: Decay, have become morbidly obese and self-indulgent.

A more debatable “weak” moment is Then Fires. It’s a little too passive and post-rocky for my liking, seemingly somewhere between ISIS and Jesu in its restless churn and plaintive melodies. Listening to it, I feel the band is almost onto something beautiful- but maybe this particular fusion is not something they were born to play. That said, the title track itself is in a similar mould, and actually works astonishingly well as a strangely tender black metal-indie fusion, with its subtle, jangling streaks of guitar colour and a genuinely outstanding, almost pop, chorus. One of the best things I’ve ever heard from this band.

With a couple of exceptions, then, it’s a subtler, harder album to grasp than its predecessor, without instant hook-songs like Assassins or Ghosts of Grace. If anything, the tunes that stamp their character on you immediately are the weaker ones (see paragraph four). Even the blacker numbers, like Blood Trance Fusion (it's nice to see a black metal band punning) twist through grimy, downtrodden doomy tones and are repeatedly disorientated by the kind of synthy textural twists that Nachtmystium have made a trademark. The final enigma is saved until the end. We finish with Every Last Drop, an utterly despondent, almost funeral doom trudge, that seems to take the surprisingly blue, clear skies that have presided over much of the preceding and swallow it in a bitter, oppressive blackness. It seems to be saying, in its mournful way, that in case you’d forgotten, Nachtmystium are still USBM to the very core.

Killing Songs :
Addicts, Every Last Drop, High on Hate
Charles quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Nachtmystium that we have reviewed:
Nachtmystium - The World We Left Behind reviewed by Goat and quoted 50 / 100
Nachtmystium - Silencing Machine reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Nachtmystium - Doomsday Derelicts reviewed by James and quoted no quote
Nachtmystium - Worldfall reviewed by James and quoted no quote
Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part I reviewed by James and quoted 87 / 100
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