Nachtmystium - Addicts: Black Meddle, Part 2 (Candlelight/Earsplit)

What is it with US Black Metal these days? Apart from Absu, all the country used to produce was lo-fi, 4-track necro bullshit. These days, they're producing great black metal by the bucketload, and at the forefront of it all is Nachtmystium.

Nachtmystium were one of the thousands of rubbish black metal bands no-one really gave a shit about until 2006's Instinct: Decay, which saw them drop the stage names, corpsepaint, and bullshit, and gain a far more solid musical product out of it.  2008 brought Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1 - the first of a two-part stylistic experiment.  The name says it all: it's black metal, but mixed with the progressive, psychadelic and often sinister sounds of early Pink Floyd (the opening track of Part 1, One Of These Nights, is all but a cover of Floyd album Meddle's opening track, One Of These Days).  Of course, "meddle" has a bit of a double meaning here: they're meddling with the black metal formula, and getting fantastic results for it.

Which brings us neatly to the forthcoming opus, Addicts: Black Meddle, Part 2.  It's not so much a second part to a complete album as it is a continuation of the ideas.  The riffs get riffier, the atmosphere is more atmospheric and the additional instruments are more HOLY SHIT IS THAT AN ORGAN, GODDAMN THAT OWNS than ever.  The songs on Addicts run the gamut from the scathingly fast-paced attack of the Emperor-esque High on Hate to the nightmarish post-metal closer, Every Last DropEnslaved may be the darlings of the metal media with a trio of fantastic "Pink Floyd Black Metal" albums to their name in Isa, Ruun and Vertebrae, but goddamn if they aren't being beaten at their own game by these Chicago upstarts.

It's not without reasons to complain, of course. While the band has thankfully abandoned most of the pointless trappings which tend to hold back most black metal bands, it's maintained a muted sound which takes the edge off many of the riffs. On the one hand, this does help some of the more ambient parts along, but on the other hand, there are some fantastic riffs being denied their headbanging power by the recording.  It also lacks anything to equal the truly ambitious three-part Seasick suite from part one - in fact, while it's a more solid recording overall, the high points of Assassins tower above any equivelant points on Addicts, which I think solidifies the former as a better album.  '

But providing you don't mind your standard black metal formula messed with, you're doing yourself a massive disservice if you miss out on listening to either of these.

Nachtmystium's Addicts: Black Meddle Part 2 is out early June 2010 on Candlelight/Earsplit.