Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nachtmystium - Demise (2004)

Nachtmystium began as yet another generic band that owed its existence to the likes of Darkthrone, Burzum and Mütiilation. The music was fairly bland, with a few decent ideas tossed in, though hardly original. Blake Judd, the driving force behind this project, was just another fanboy that wanted to try his hand at recreating the past, in his own mediocre way. He also likes to re-write history, in that the Reign of the Malicious demo was later claimed to be the band's first official album, though when I first spoke to the guy he mentioned it as a demo and actually said the same about Demise, which was released through Autopsy Kitchen Records in early 2004. For the sake of argument, I will consider this Nachtmystium's debut L.P. For what it is, this is not a bad record. It was later released with different artwork, but the Burzum rip-off job that is featured on the original suits the music far better.

The album begins with a pointless intro that does absolutely nothing to add to the atmosphere of the album. Thankfully, one can skip past it to the first real track, "Solitary Voyage". This one is a mid-paced song that possesses a mournful and tormented feeling. The main theme features a miserable tremolo melody with open chords being played underneath. It is quite primitive and one gets the impression that the musicians do not have the strongest grasp of how to wield their instruments, but the effort is there. The raw and fuzzy guitar riffs dominate the sound, with the vocals being buried in the mix a bit and the drums at a somewhat decent level. The production is reminiscent of Filosofem, from Burzum, just not quite as good. As the song progresses, it takes on an epic vibe and gives the listener some optimism for the rest of the L.P. Sadly, this is about as good as it gets.

"Scorpio Incarnate" is a faster-paced track that is built around blast beats and fast tremolo riffs. Obviously, this displays some influences from Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger album. By the middle of the song, things slow down and the aura transforms into something more evocative of Burzum. Much like Judas Iscariot, Nachtmystium owes a lot to those two bands, though the drug addict, Blake, manages to do a better job of imitating them.

The next song, "Ashes to Ashes", is a little monotonous and only really comes to life as a sorrowful melody is introduced late in the song, playing over the main theme. This maintains the same melancholic atmosphere as before, though it falls rather flat and does not do much. It just crawls along, accomplishing little.

"The Glorious Moment" is a boring track that seems like a mixture of random ideas that were borrowed from other bands and then tossed together to kill about five minutes. The final couple minutes show more life, but the generic nature of the riffs cannot be ignored. The vocals might have added to the overall effect, but they are too low in the mix to have much influence.

The last real song on here is "Rise and Fall", which creeps at a slow pace. There are some effects, such as demonic voices in the background that do little to help the track. This comes off as nothing more than the obligatory 'lengthy song' just to fill space, as there is nothing going on in these ten minutes that could not have been accomplished in four or five. An interesting melody arrives near the very end, which actually possesses more feeling than the rest of the riffs, combined.

The outro is nothing more than eight and a half minutes of senseless noise that has nothing to do with the vibe of the album and is likely only there to pad the running time. Without the intro and outro, this release is barely more than half an hour.

Demise is not a bad record, for those that are interested in hearing modern Black Metal that is purely derivative of earlier bands, with almost no unique input whatsoever. It starts out a lot stronger than it ends, so you may find yourself only listening to the first two tracks before getting bored and moving on to something else. Chances are, if the guy had not given me a copy for free (to play on my radio show), I would not have bothered adding this to my collection and I would not recommend anyone else to do so, either. The American Black Metal scene has always been pretty lame and average at best, and Nachtmystium is no different.