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Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Part I - 50%

altered_state, March 21st, 2009

The new incantation of Nachtmystium, while a welcome change to the tired generic black metal they played previously, is similar to 80s action films in that it may be entertaining once in a while, but is ultimately empty and tame; devoid of feeling and emotion in an effort to sell itself to the wider undemanding audience.

Experimental and psychedelic are both labels Nachtmystium have been tagged with, leading me to wonder if people actually know what these descriptions mean. Almost all the tracks have oscillating electronic wind and/or bleeping noises, something Hawkwind first experimented with nearly forty years ago most famously on Silver Machine. Hawkwind’s efforts were much more successful though, as being pioneers they had to create their sound manually unlike Nachtmystium who sound like they’ve used a demo of Fruity Loops. Someone also needs to explain to Blake Judd that attaching wind noises, echoes, reverb, delay, flangers, wah-wahs and electronic bleeping to otherwise conventional music does not psychedelia make.

There is little variety in the songwriting and delivery, all tracks featuring mid-paced weak multi-layered guitars that are inevitably used as the backing for a lead riff played with a sugary-sweet guitar tone drenched with increasingly more effects. Often this leads to overlong, tiresome songs that impotently amble onwards until it slowly fades out only to be greeted with anywhere from a few seconds to two minutes of more pointlessly hacked in wind and bleeping noises. The vocals and drums are nothing special, simply what you’d expect from a generic black metal band, which is painful to say knowing what Tony Laureano is capable of.

Nevertheless, there are a few moments on this album where Nachtmystium play with some balls such as sections of One Of These Nights, Your True Enemy and Omnivore, while the solos are mostly impressive, yet the majority of Assassins is just bland and superficial. As I stated in my intro, like 80s action films it can make for good mindless entertainment every so often, but repeated listens highlight its failings and lack of substance, something which makes me think the retarded sound effects are solely there for distraction; Nachtmystium have become the George Lucas of black metal.