Nachtmystium were formed in 2000 by Blake Judd and Pat 'Noctis' McCormick, as a primitive 4-tracker black Metal band and over the last fourteen years, they have seen a fair few line-up changes, as a consequence developing way beyond that original format, expanding their sound away from the commonplace by subtly incorporating a broad range of other influences into their ever developing sound but still keeping that raw harsh blackened core.
'The World We Left Behind', studio full length number seven, is to be their final release, the last chapter in a tumultuous, controversial and provoking history and is an album full of desperation and gloom that oozes depravity, written by once again by the warped and talented hand of Blake Judd.
The album consists of nine tracks that are superbly crafted, varied in mood and atmosphere and a thought challenging, engaging and highly enjoyable listen.
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For this release Blake, who covers lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, synthesiser and percussion, is assisted by the musical talents of Scare Crow on lead guitars, John Porada (Terminate) on bass, Dustin Drenk on synthesisers and electronics and his band mate from Hate Meditation, Sam Shroyer on drums.
Opening with 'Intrusion', an atmospheric instrumental where haunting distorted guitars exude a hypnotic wave of rising and falling riffs that switch to a pounding rhythm, building the atmosphere. The complete change of mood and rise in tempo comes as a real surprise as 'Fireheart' opens, a perfectly balanced contrast between uplifting repeat riffs and Blake's superb harsh blackened vocals.
Slower in tempo, 'Voyager' has more haunting guitar work and powerful lyrics. This track would qualify as my favourite if the rest were not all equally superb. 'Into The Endless Abyss' is wonderfully intense, bleak and dark and a very strong sense of despair surrounds this track with the addition of some superb psychedelic synthesiser, something you don't necessarily expect from black Metal, a superb boundary pushing track.
The mood and atmosphere changes again on the 'In The Absence Of Existence', a bleak mournful and questioning track. The tempo picks up after an extended intro on 'The World We Left Behind' becoming reflective midway. I loved the classic styled black Metal riffs that make up the backbone of this track.
'Tear You Down', is simply haunting and sinister while the tempo changes completely for 'On The Other Side' up tempo yet deliberate, with simple, haunting repeat riffs, a dark and beautiful track with a superb guitar segment to the close. There is something poignant about the final track the slower 'Epitaph For A Dying Star' a very fitting finale for the final track ever from Nachtmystium. The haunting, clean female backing vocals add a surprising and interesting edge.
What I love about this release is that the guitars have been kept cleverly unfussy, yet still managing to be catchy, aiming for and achieving a strong, very moving and memorable effect and allowing the lyrics, which are incredibly powerful, often dark, bleak and sinister to be fully appreciated and to have the maximum impact possible.
It's not about egos, just about good music, the drum work mostly keeps an unobtrusive pace breaking out when necessary, altogether making this a superb release from Nachtmystium. I can't fault any aspect of it and it could quite possibly their best but it is hard to say when their last three or four releases have been equally as superb.
It's sad that this is their swansong, but they are going out on a high note and I am certain this is not the last we will hear of the boundless talents of Blake Judd.