Nachtmystium – Worldfall EP

Worldfall EP

Modern black metal comes in so many flavors it’s becoming more difficult every day to choose which one is best. On the one hand there there’s the Xasthur take on black metal, taking the droning riffs and slowing the tempo until it practically becomes ambient. On the other hand there is the more over-the-top theatrics of groups such as Dimmu Borgir, a band that takes the orchestral elements of late-period Emperor and goes beyond the limits of good taste with it. Let’s not forget all the necro stuff that refuses to move beyond the one mic hanging from the garage ceiling getting overloaded with blast beats and screechy vocals. There’s also a developing rift between U.S. black metal and it’s European counterpart. Finally, and who could forget this one, there’s the stigma attached to the genre thanks to all of the National Socialist (re: Nazi) black metal bands giving everyone else a bad name and making fans like myself and others full-time apologists for a number of ethnocentric racists ruining it for everyone else.

Thankfully, Nachtmystium doesn’t fall in with that last group. It’s one of a handful of groups trying to push the boundaries of the genre yet again. Hailing from Illinois, the U.S. black metal outfit’s Instinct:Decay release from 2006 blended sprawling psychedelic solos into it’s cathartic blast. Some close-minded idiots resented this for going against their loosely defined vision of “true black metal.” Others, myself included, were enthusiastic about the possibilities arising from yet another mutant strain of the genre. Nachtmystium now gives us preparation for it’s upcoming full-length, Assassins with the excellent Worldfall EP.

Worldfall encompasses three Nachtmystium tracks and two very interesting covers. “Worldfall” and “Depravity” expand upon the template established on Instinct:Decay with fantastic results. “Worldfall” is more mid-tempo with a lumbering, discordant riff and echoing vocals fleshed out with a mind-warping solo. “Depravity” is an all-out assault of blast beats and tremolo picking. “Rose Clouds of Holocaust” is a Death in June cover that has vocals mirroring it’s noise-folk roots, baritone harmonizing and a more straight-forward rock approach. The cover of Goatsnake’s “IV” is an extremely faithful cover of the stoner/doom metal group’s original.

The songs on Worldfall were originally intended to make up the Nachtmystium side of a split with Leviathan. Because of delays involving legal issues with Leviathan’s record label, the split may or may not ever see the light of day. Thankfully we get the Nachtmystium material here. If the upcoming full-length is as good as the original songs included here, we may have a classic metal album on our hands.