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a successful exploration - 94%

dunyayeriaze, August 22nd, 2008

Before you hear this album, gather your dad's Pink Floyd albums and the weed he hides behind them. Now listen to the difference in sound and approach to music from Pink Floyd's albums predating Meddle and then hear how Meddle (1972) was a direction apart. This is the holy grail of musicians. An adventure into an unknown realm which may have moderate success but a great deal of influence over the development of music. To be a precedent is more honorable than being a pinnacle.

So Nachtmystium's album Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1 begins with an obvious allusion... no let me say homage to Pink Floyd's album Meddle. Transitions between songs are smooth and follow a natural emotional course. The first song has an anthem-like quality to the refrain which-- as a precedent-- sets a great contrast to the characteristic black metal verses. It works. The guitar solos, none like previous Nachtmystium albums, take the aural aspect of David Gilmour of Floyd.

The Xasthur like vocals are the only thing which cohesively holds the black metal feeling of the whole. The music is too groovy, too simple, too raw to be fully black metal. It's reminiscent of hardcore punk, seventies rock, symphonic metal, without fully realizing these styles as many fusion artists erroneously do.

The lyrics are rich in meaning and execution. They are not contrived in feeling as many black metal lyricists who consider themselves to be Elizabethan poets. The use of guitar effects is appropriate (flanger and chorus, ala Floyd 70s). The quality of recording is appropriate. The tracks function as a whole rather than singles haphazardly pasted into an album.

The album finally closes with another reference to Meddle (72). The song "Echoes" from Meddle (72), a 20 minute masterpiece which has three distinct parts ,is considered a Floyd triumph. The song has many references to the sea, especially David Gilmour emulating submarine echo-locater radar and gulls on his guitar. Nachtmystium sees this as an opportunity to try something different and they divide Sea Sick into three distinct tracks which have unique sounds and sound like a completely different band. All in all it feels like a prequel to another album, justifying the name including "Part 1". It allows catharsis of the brutality of the past few heavy tracks, especially Omnivore.

This album is definitely inspired and not meant to be a defining work but is obviously a success for the band. They show their homage to the roots of classic rock while exploring-- within their genre-- different structures.

Listen to the album and expect to hear something that you really like and something that you don't. They are not trying to be a pinnacle of the genre in black metal. Instead, they want you to hear something interesting, which is the minimal and humble request any worthwhile band makes of an audience.