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I discovered Nachtmystium several months ago via the tag "psychedelic black metal" on Last.fm. I actually laughed at it and checked out the band without much expectation. All I can say is : mind-blown. Nachtmystium are one of the most (if not THE most) original and innovative bands I have come across in black metal.
Black Meddle Part I starts out with a cover of Pink Floyd's "One of These Days". I heard that riff start and I knew already that I would love this album forever. It's done so tastefully and sets the obscure mood of the album right off the bat. The album follows through with a super fun song, “Assassins”, and damn, the chorus on this thing is great! There are also some strange electronic parts subtly in the background and this is where the “psychedelic” comes in. Nachtmystium loves to use strange effects and they aren’t afraid to experiment at all, and you just can’t help but to admire them for it. The next song is by far the highlight of the album, “Ghosts of Grace”. It’s basically a really exciting punk song with screamed vocals. Easily one of the top 5 choruses I have heard in my life. Every time I listen to this album, Ghosts of Grace is playing in my head for hours afterwards. It’s fantastic. The tracks “Omnivore” and “Your True Enemy” touch back to their raw black metal roots with fast and aggressive guitar play and drum work. The vocals on Omnivore are strangely so good, too. Blake Judd pulls off these whispers at all the right moments in this song and it just flows beautifully. There’s really nothing special about his vocals, but he knows exactly what to do at exactly the right time.
The album sadly loses momentum with the last three tracks, Seasick I, II and III. They don’t really go anywhere and there are no climaxes. They're mostly instrumental, but there is some awesomely suitable saxophone. There are some really great effects throughout, but it’s just not enough to hold your attention. These are the most experimental tracks by a long shot here, but there is just no excitement. It’s like the album is split directly into two parts, which is really sad.
Nachtmystium is a band trying its best to do something new in the black metal scene, and damn, they do a fine job. This album is catchy as hell, has a ton of crazy and original moments, and is overall a ton of fun to listen to. Sadly, their album structuring needs a bit of work as the first half of the album doesn’t really tie into the second half. If you listen to them separately, both halves are mind blowing, but it just doesn’t feel like they should be together. I seriously wish there were more bands doing this stuff.
Favorite tracks: Ghosts of Grace, One of These Nights.
Least favorite tracks: Seasick, Part I.