By Dave Sanders
Few bands have evolved as much as Nachtmystium over the course of four albums. Starting in earnest with Demise (the band’s second full length, released in 2004), which was a straight to the point, grainy exercise in the second wave of black metal. The next album, Instinct: Decay (2006), started to slow, with elements of melody and rock and roll creeping in. In 2008, the band released Assassins: Black Meddle Part I. Assassins really started to deviate from the traditional black metal sound, focusing ever more on melody and the art of the riff, rather than blast beats and tremolo picking. Now comes 2010’s Addicts.
This is by far the band’s most ambitious album to date. The lead off track, “High on Hate” belies the album’s progression initially, sounding more like a refined version of their earlier works, roaring out of the gate with lightning quick drumming and quick tremolo picking, but does slow somewhat by the end of the track, finishing on a blues laden outro.
Next comes the first surprising shift of the album. “Nightfall” begins with a staccato guitar and drum riff before heading into a bouncy vocal section. At times more rock and roll than metal, it is definitely some of the catchiest material the band has released.
Following that is the heavily industrial influenced “No Funeral.” Although the industrial aspects are the focal point of the music, vocalist and guitarist Blake Judd retains his trademark raspy, coherent delivery.
The next stand out track is the title, “Addicts.” While Killing Joke is one of the biggest influences on the album as a whole, this song really shows it. Starting out at a jaunty pace, grandiose choruses are joined by sweeping riffs and more bluesy interludes.
“The End is Eternal” somewhat refocuses the album back to it’s black metal roots, granted at a much more deliberate pace, and serves to break up the album quite well. What comes after is a black/doom hybrid saturated in effects. “Blood Trace Fusion” is easily encapsulates the album in a single song.
The next to album closer, “Ruined Life Continuum” may be the beginning of a new sub genre entirely: dance metal. Most notably in the verses, the guitar drum combo takes a direction that would easily be at home in a dance club. While the whole song doesn’t take this direction, the risks the band take really pay off.
As a whole, Addicts is one of the most diverse albums to be released in a long while and one that would be a crying shame to miss. Nachtmystium have become masters at pushing their genre to new and unexplored limits. Expect imitators, but don’t accept imitations.