Black metal has never really been my type of music. I’ve been ruined by a bunch of bands that had no clue what they were doing and pretty much all sounded the same. It has certainly progressed over the years though with bands like Immortal showing some real musicianship and creativity in their songs. And then there’s Nachtmystium.
I had heard their first full length – Reign of the Malicious – back in 2002 and it sounded like every other black metal record to me. So it was a long while until I bothered with them again. In fact it was six years later with Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1. The founder of the band – Azentrius – dropped the black metal name and went by his birth name of Blake Judd and they started “meddling” with the sound. Lots of psychedelic sounds and even some saxophone changed the entire feel of the group. They still had the black metal roots but they challenged the notion of what it should be.
Addicts: Black Meddle, Part 2 continues on the same path at the part 1 but strays even further from the black metal sound with some pop-ish stuff (gasp!) and straight forward rock while still packing more punch than the previous album. On their myspace page, Judd talked about their love for Killing Joke shining through here and that’s a damn accurate description. It’s a little prog, a little post-rock and a little industrial. But most of all, it’s just pretty fucking awesome.
The key track is “Addicts,” which has a killer almost stoner-rock riff in it. Then there’s “No Funeral” and “Ruined Life Continuum” peppered with a mesmerizing keyboard line that sound like the Killers somehow crossed over to the darkside. And if the traditional sound is still what you like then “Blood Trance Fusion” is one the best tracks on the album to satisfy your tastes.
When Black Meddle, Part I was released it seemed like there was a camp of traditionalists that were kind of scared of the new approach. This time however, it shouldn’t be that much of a shock to the system. The metal community needs more bands like Nachtmystium to challenge the definitions of styles and push boundries and then more fans to not be afraid of latching on to something they aren’t used to. I pigeonholed myself into a sound I thought black metal was an almost missed out on this group because of it. Don’t let this happen to you. Addicts: Black Meddle, Part 2 is a fascinating album.