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If you read my Worldfall review you might have some insight as to how I feel about post Instinct:Decay Nachtmystium; for those who haven't I'll sum up my feelings briefly. I Enjoyed Nachtmystium's work from Demise to Instinct:Decay a great deal. I enjoyed the fuzzed out, raw atmosphere, dive bombing guitars, wailing riffs and the overall venomous attitude. Unfortunately for me, most of that has become lost with post Instinct:Decay Nachtmystium.
It took a lot of patience for me to listen to this album the full way through; there wasn't much I enjoyed about it. Naturally being a large fan of black metal, and a quite small fan of doom/stoner metal I enjoyed the "blacker" parts of this album, i.e "Assassins," "Your True Enemy," and the scattered BM tidings of "Ghosts Of Grace" and "Omnivore." By no means am I a BM purist, I thought the psychedelic flourishes that had been introduced in previous recordings were great, I enjoy a slew of all different genres, and hate bands that preach about being true; but I feel this isn't all that interesting.
Nachtmystium had a good thing going, but Judd has decided, for whatever reason, to morph the band into a hodgepodge of psychedelics, commercial metal, black metal and self-satisfying crap. Utterly pointless parts of the album are, but not limited to: whisper vocals, random buzzing robot noises, gang vocals, meandering and boring tracks (Away From The Light), and well... I would like to cite the last three tracks as pointless, but that's because I don’t care for Stoner/Doom Metal much( I do however love Eyehategod, but they’re raw and gritty).
As you could have guessed, the final three tracks which seem to follow a concept of sorts are all pretty shitty. For the most part they're slow psychedelic jam outs with little to no redeeming factors. The album is certainly mixed with some pretty decent sections of blast beats and tremolo picking graced with some nice melodic riffs, and other stuff I find interesting, but it's lost amidst a bunch of junk.
Another and quite large factor towards this album's failure is the production. We're given a pretty slick production that fits perfectly well with some doom or more polished bands, but here it doesn't fly. Clean sounding drums, lots of polished guitars, ridiculous effects on both the voice and random bits of sound that I'm sure are just there to piss you off. On top of all of that, this album is devoid of any real atmosphere. I know you're probably saying "Oh, but Seasick made me feel like I was riding a boat... on the sea!" or "Code Negative really made me recognize my innermost feelings, and it felt like I was tripping pretty hard!" no that's not going to do it for me in terms of atmosphere. Everything is a bit too purposeful, even though I enjoyed previous Nachtmystium albums; they've always come off, to me, as trying too hard. This album reeks of Judd wanting to obtain, or reach a level of admiration, so for me, the atmosphere and a lot of the emotion seems fake to me.
All in all, as I said there are a few redeeming factors; but not enough. Even some of the trippy hipster bullshit ain't all that bad (the solo at the end of Code Negative is pretty goddamn good), but it's not enough. The worst part is there is not one song I like in its entirety, there's faults with it all. Now I may have high standards, but regardless there is not one flawless song, there is not one gem. There are sections which I might regard as awesome, but no songs. Such sections would be the sections between the choruses of "Assassins" and everything in “Your True Enemy” except the pointless solo.
Regardless of their reasons, ideas, focus or whatever, Nachtmystium seems to keep the idea flowing that bigger labels=crappier music. It's a shame, because I was really digging the whole psychedelic black metal shtick. But if you like hipster bullshit like The Sword, most of Southern Lord's doom crap, the 60's, or tie-dye, then this album might be of some interest to you.
Oh, and a saxophone, really guys? Really?