Sound: Nachtmystium are a band that started out as black metal, but have evolved over the years into an extreme metal band with progressive and psychedelic elements. Their last album Assassins: Black Meddle Part I is what the name of the two part series (so we think) states: Black Metal with a pinch of prog (Meddle represents the Pink Floyd album of the same name). With critical acclaim, people were more than excited for their fifth album; Addicts: Black Meddle Part II.
While their last album was extreme metal with psychedelic feel, Addicts is kind of the reversal of this, as it is pretty much psychedelic and progressive rock with black metal elements. The second track, High On Hate, starts off with a blast beat and is one of the more extreme songs on the album. Then it shifts to Nightfall; a very catchy track that sets the tone for the majority of the album.
Addicts does not carry the punch that Assassins has. Assassins was mystical (no pun intended) and at the same time extremely vicious. However, for the punch that Addicts lacks, it makes up for hooks. This album is extremely catchy, and like Nachtmystium's previous two albums, there aren't any cds like this. It's new, interesting, and creative.
The only problem I find with this album is, while every individual track is incredible, and each song is different and easy to tell apart, there is a constant tempo to be found within the second half of the album, apart from the final 8 minute track Every Last Drop. With this constant rock tempo, the album kind of bleeds into itself. However, after a few listens this doesn't seem to be an issue as the listener picks and chooses instant songs that they love. The album as a whole could have done with a few more extreme moments just to add more substance to it, but apart from that the sound is great. Fairly good production, especially for a black metal based release, great guitar solos that show that you can shred, but you can also create slow blues-based solos, and a very catchy rhythm section. // 9
Lyrics: Blake Judd has a signature voice which is recognizable instantly. But on Assassins, he mainly screams. So how can he mix it up a bit? The screaming is still very much around, but now there is more cases of harsh singing, and now even some almost-cleanly sung sections with vocal harmonies. It works well with the change in music style.
As for the lyrics, they are all well written. The constant theme of drug abuse rules these lyrics, but Blake doesn't shove his views in your face. He does it as quaintly as an extreme metal musician can; by not saying "it's wrong" but by putting the listener in the shoes of an addict. His piercing screams and cries really add some emotion to the lyrics, and there are quite a few nicely added metaphors here and there.
The theme of drug abuse works with the new musical style because they use guitar effects and some electronic elements to create a "trippy", bizarre feel, extenuating the notion that the listener is in their own horrible drug trip. // 8
Overall Impression: I am in a puzzle when it comes to comparing this album to Assassins, as they are both great. I guess it just depends on your taste of music. Those who prefer extreme metal will like Assassins more, and those who prefer progressive rock/metal will prefer Addicts. The two albums work well as a pair.
My favorite tracks from this album, thus far, are High On Hate, Then Fires, and Every Last Drop. Those who are curious about listening to this album should check out these tracks. Again, every track on this album is great, including the haunting opener.
This is one of the best releases of the year so far, and Nachtmystium prove again that they are one of the most diverse and interesting bands in todays metal scene. // 9