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The rough beginnings of a now polished sound - 90%

arioch_enshrined, September 14th, 2007

My first exposure to Nachtmystium was their recent release, Instinct: Decay; and while different, I was pleased to find the same quality of music in their back catalogue. Like their newer releases, there is a dose of melody in the Midwestern band’s early work, but it is in the form of tremolo riffing pattern progressions as opposed to the effect-laden lead sections on Instinct. The production of this release is raw and full of grit but remarkably clear for the instruments, and it exudes forth a calming sort of atmosphere. The overall product has a similar mellowing affect on me as I experience while listening to Enslaved’s Below the Light or Agalloch’s Pale Folklore, although the delivery is totally different. This self-titled EP uses many simple riffs infused with the afore mentioned melodies to lull the listener into a slight trance, helped along with the heavily distorted rasps of their vocalist (for this album, Zmij) and a not-so-flashy, yet rhythmically solid battery of percussion.

The opening track, The Glorious Moment, starts off with feedback and then the main riff of the song kicks in, played on a single guitar. The other instruments gradually join and create an upper mid tempo mini-epic that speeds up for a high energy finish that ends abruptly. The song structure is fairly simple, but vocal placement, melodies and the percussive backdrop keep the song soothing as opposed to annoying.

The sudden ending of track one segue ways into a quick start of the second song, Cold Tormentor (I’ve Become.) The pace of this song is fast throughout, except for a brief slow down around the minute-and-a-half mark that ends in an overcoming blast of distorted sound - leading into the quick pace that preceded it. Again, the structure is fairly rudimentary but is carried forth on strength of rhythm and melody of the key riffs.

Come Forth, Devastation is easily as fast as the track before it, but touches upon the epic feel of the first track. The rhythm of this song is very simplistic, but the magnificent progression of melody puts the listener into a delightful, sorrow-filled stupor. This is also the first song (and only) to feature a solo section, and the solo presented almost brings the track to a close. A brief riff follows and the song abruptly ends just to allow the next track to resume and a similar, unforgiving speed.

Embrace Red Horizon has a lot of the same rhythmic feel as the previous track, but the progression of melody is completely different. This song fades out in the simplistic rhythmic fashion that it started after only two-and-a-half minutes.

The last original work of the EP, The Call Of The Ancient, is considerably slower than any song on the album. What it sacrifices in speed, it makes up in rhythmic variation and vocal ferocity – the slow pace allows the scathing performance of Zmij to really shine through. Towards the finish of the song, the tempo greatly speeds up (similar to the previous tracks) and pummels the listener to the end. As with the earlier tracks, melody is top-notch through both slow and fast.

A rendition of Judas Iscariot’s “Gaze Upon Heaven In Flames” ends the EP. While the song doesn’t impress me itself, I don’t feel like it takes away from the strength of this release. The riffing style is rather bland, but the sheer weight created at times by the length a note is sustained (while tremoloing) adds a nice finish to a wonderful release.

This album sees a lot of repetition in each song, but the tracks build a sense of familiarity in the ear of the listener. Nachtmystium are not incredibly innovative with this release, but they do a superb job making their songs feel fresh and crisp as opposed to overdone and boring.

very good raw BM from USA - 89%

robert_sun, November 8th, 2006

This unholy horde leaded by Azentrius released this MCD in 2003, but recently Battle Kommand Records re-released it (in unlimited copies) on CD. In the last 3 years this record was a frequent guest on my playlist, so I was really curious to find out if the CD has some extra bonus tracks, or if there’s any additional information in the booklet. Well, except the CD release itself, I didn’t become more wealthy or wise, because the CD contains exactly the same 6 tracks as the previous version and the booklet gives also zero info.
The lyrics are not available, only the front cover changed a little bit.

The band continues the raw Black Metal way, which was held up then put to rest by the mighty Judas Iscariot. I guess it’s not a coincidence that Akhenaten of JI was the mixing engineer for this material… The tracks are overwhelmed with chilling and misanthropic atmosphere, I could hardly imagine a rougher and more unfriendly Black Metal, and Azentrius’ altered voice doesn’t ease the listening. For this cause I’m surprised of the first track’s (The Glorious Moment) opening riffs, because it’s really melodic, reminding me of the pagan melodies of Graveland, in terms that the guitar themes are raw, but catchy and they can be memorized from the first listening.

The fast tempos are dominating, exceptions are only a few moments of the aforementioned first track and The Call of the Ancient. In the unholy Black Metal assaults I sense a bit of thrash metal influence, especially in the wild and fast solos, which aren’t a common thing in contemporary BM. The last track is a cover version of Judas Iscariot’s (who else?) classical Gaze Upon Heaven In Flames song, which is played a little faster than the original one. This MCD had withstood the test of time, it’s a very good material also from a perspective of 3 years.

Nachtmystium - Nachtmystium - 80%

vorfeed, May 11th, 2004

Artist: Nachtmystium
Album: Nachtmystium
Label: Regimental

This MCD is the second CD release from Nachtmystium, an American band playing harsh Black Metal.

The songs here range from mid-paced to blistering in tempo. The guitar is tuned a bit high, giving it a biting sound much like Judas Iscariot, or Abyssic Hate. The drums are well played, with the cymbal being put to very good use during the more epic sections. Vocals are a croaking snarl, and display a great deal of range without making the lyrics too incomprehensible. The production is clear, though not overly so. It's a good complement to the slower sections' guitar work and drumming, yet it doesn't distract from the brutality of the faster parts of the album.

I enjoyed Nachtmystium's first CD, "Reign of the Malicious", but it soon dropped off of my playlist. This release is light years beyond that one in almost every way, though, so much so that the amount of improvement the band has undergone really surprised me. "Call of the Ancient" has been re-recorded from their first album, and so it may be the most obvious point of comparison. Where the original song featured muddy drumming and average vocals, the re-recording is excellent. The other songs are equally memorable, and the album closes with a fine cover of Judas Iscariot's "Gaze Upon Heaven in Flames". My only complaint is that some of the riffing seems slightly "done before". The songwriting is solid overall, but there's still some room for improvement.

I'm quite impressed by this MCD - not only is it a vast improvement over the first Nachtmystium release, it's also a fine album when taken on its own. I'd very much like to see a full-length album in this vein. Recommended for fans of Darkthrone, Judas Iscariot, or early Graveland.

Standout Tracks:

Cold Tormentor (I've Become), Call of the Ancient

Review by Vorfeed: http://www.vorfeed.net

USBM with SERIOUS potential - 83%

dmerritt, July 13th, 2003

It seems as if the USBM scene is in a constant state of progression. There are too many bands to think of, but almost all the ones I've heard as of late have a stong foundation, both in the European scenes and more recently in the early American founders, such as Judas Iscariot, etc. Enter Nachtmystium. I had never even heard of this band before I soaked this one in, but I am confident that they are poised to become a major item in the ever-developing US scene.

The opening track, 'The Glorious Moment' is powerful but infectiously melodic, reminiscent of Dissection and vintage Naglfar. The combination of grand, magestic soundscapes with traditional BM grit might also bring up comparisons to fellow countrymen Averse Sefira and Fog. The best quality of the material is the creative guitarwok, best exemplified by the first riff to the second track 'Cold Tormentor', which is catchy in a very USBM sort of way, but also seems to contain some Requiem-era Bathory thrashiness.

The weaker point of the material is the redundancy. Some of the songs seem to wash into each other, with often barely discernable distinction. 'Come Forth, Devastation' picks up where the underdeveloped 'Cold Tormentor' left off, with minimal variation. Also, the shortness of the tracks sometimes works against the vastness of the band's sound. The compositions cut off at the precise moment where they become enjoyable. Aside from the ingenious solo that caps off 'Come Forth, Devastation' (comparisons to GBK will abound here), the second, third, and fourth tracks suffer from depreciating brevity and sameness.

However, the album picks up immediately afterwards with 'Call of the Ancient', the second strongest original work on the MCD, next to the opener, and ends with a slightly tighter and slightly faster version of Judas Iscariot's 'Gaze Upon Heaven In Flames'.

Although this six-song snippet is far from perfect, it is also far from ordinary, and, as with all MCD's and EP's, potential is the primary criterion. On this note, Nachtmystium passes with flying colors.