Nachtmystium - Nachtmystium - 2003 - Battle Kommand Records
1. The Glorious Moment 2. Cold Tormentor (I've Become) 3. Come Forth, Devastation 4. Embrace Red Horizon 5. Call Of The Ancient 6. Gaze Upon Heaven In Flames (Judas Iscariot Cover)
Listening to Nachtmystium’s self-titled EP from 2003, it is hard to make the connection between its harsh traditional approach to black metal and the interpretive cross-section of ‘Instinct: Decay’ that would cause such a stir in 2006. One would at first imagine that two albums so closely released would display more similar characteristics, but considering that Nachtmystium were only formed in 2000 this EP is relatively early in their discography, and so the disparity is a credible one.
That being said, there are moments where the more adventuresome tendencies that would eventually surface do shine through the monochromatic buzz of Darkthrone-worship, which make ‘Nachtmystium’ an interesting reference point, if not all that much of a success on its own. For example, the tinny, ethereal solo that closes out ‘Come Forth, Devastation’ sounds like a prototype for similar passages found on ‘Instinct: Decay’, most notably ‘A Seed For Suffering’ and ‘Eternal Ground’.
It is generally a good rule-of-thumb not to refer to future works when reviewing a band’s discography in retrograde, but in Nachtmystium’s atypical case, as with a few others (e.g. Manes, Ulver), it is merited. Listening to those deeper, more textured moments (such as the aforementioned ‘Come Forth, Devastation’) as a theme to be developed instead of simply an exception to the two-riff, buzzsaw rule makes this EP worth exploring. Otherwise, ‘Nachtmystium’ would be an almost completely derivative exercise, as opposed to its current status as a prelude of passing interest.
The fact remains, though, that aside from these brief moments it is a disappointingly average release that tapers off rather quickly. If anything, the mediocre quality of this EP could validate the experimentation that was to come to some particularly harsh traditionalists who have voiced displeasure. Yet, this is unlikely—a black metal band on tour with Daughters and Pelican is a quandary indeed. In summary, ‘Nachtmystium’ is a release for stringent followers of the band and musical analysts. Beyond these niche groups, it has very limited appeal.
Postscript: The continued fascination of American black metal bands with Judas Iscariot covers is a mystery. At least half of that prolific entity’s releases are as uninspired and flat as the bands that cover it. Nachtmystium’s version of ‘Gaze Upon Heaven In Flames’ is significantly faster than the original, but uninspired riffing is uninspired riffing, no matter its tempo.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details