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American black metal band Nachtmystium has been shape-shifting for quite a while. This has been both sonically and with their ďis it or isnít it the end for the band?Ē. Mainstay Blake Judd has had his fair share of reported ups and downs away from music and, in many ways, must be admired for talking openly about them. Throughout the years as Iíve followed the band, you can hear how these personal experiences have shaped the sound of each release. So, with Nachtmystium carrying on (at least as a recording outfit), this is their latest album rather than their last. Iíve always had to approach their albums and EPs with a certain open mind and, although they can grab my attention immediately, sometimes they need a bit more time as their songs feel like they should be savoured and discovered as you listen to them. This album is no exception and Iíll be honest, when I first heard it, I was disappointed. There are some good moments to be had but, on the whole, the album felt somewhat overdrawn and lacklustre. It reminded me of listening to the last Satyricon album. Stripped down, mid-paced and dynamics used sparingly. But just like Satyriconís last album, this has grown on me the more Iíve listened to it. You feel it has a reflective feel rather than being caught in the psychedelic madness of it all. Thatís not to say there arenít moments of psychedelia such as in the title track and ĎIn The Abscense on Existenceí but they are few and far between in the stripped down, almost post-rock aesthetic of the album. The opening track ĎIntrusioní does kick in with clear intent but the pace soon settles down on the album and itís here that a little patience may need to exercised. The crowning glory of the album, though, is the closing track ĎEpitaph for a Dying Starí. Itís a haunting masterpiece, and definitely, for me, the stand out track, with clean vocal warblings that bring Arcturus via Delirium to mind. Everything works wonderfully in that final track and itís always getting a repeat play when I listen to the album. The lyrics on ĎThe World We Left Behindí certainly feel like it is the personal statement of Blake Judd and as a heartfelt creative, as I believe he is, comes across heartfelt and anguished in equal measure. This album will probably not have immediate appeal for all and, for me, maybe there are better Nachtmystium albums out there, but my recommendation is to give this a few spins late at night and let it wash over you as thereís much to discover in its reflective nature.
Century Media
Review by Paul Sims
4th August 2014
1) Intrusion
2) Fireheart
3) Voyager
4) Into the Endless Abyss
5) In the Abscense of Existence
6) The World We Left Behind
7) Tear You Down
8) On the Other Side
9) Epitaph for a Dying Star
"...it has a reflective feel rather than being caught in the psychedelic madness of it all."