Released: 2009, Candlelight Records
Let’s get this out of the way first: I’m not a fan of black metal and I couldn’t care less what Blake Judd has to say about the genre. Like the rest of us, he’s entitled to his own opinion, and certainly if he wants to shit on his own doorstep, that’s his prerogative. Let’s just talk about DOOMSDAY DERELICTS and what Nachtmystium threaten to unleash upon the public with the full-length.
After the furore over ASSASSINS, their previous album that supposedly brought Pink Floyd and psychedelia into black metal, the black metallers from Illinois released their EP in the middle of this year – and it couldn’t be more different from BLACK MEDDLE (lollzz) if it tried.
Stripping away all the weird unnecessary shit that passed for ‘psychedelia’ on ASSASSINS, Nachtmystium offer up four songs that are pretty sonically distinct from each other. The first song ‘Bones’ is possibly the most orthodox blackened death metal song on the EP, with compelling drumming, guitar riffs masked by shitloads of reverb and delay, church bell samples and Blake’s monotonous croak/rasp. It’s also the most enjoyable song in that it just belts out whatever it wants to say in under 3 minutes. No pretentiousness, no bullshit, no arty-fartiness. Not original, not bad either.
‘Life of Fire’ turns it around 90 degrees, having the downbeat melancholy goth feel that I’d expect from Katatonia or bands of that ilk. The piano crowds the guitar out even more – the weak guitar sounding like it was recorded at the bottom of the ocean, is really annoying, and the song itself is as dull as a Disney soundtrack with Phil Collins and Elton John on it. ‘Hellish Overdose’ kicks it up three notches again, with a thoroughly enjoyable Venom/Motorhead crust punk drivetrain at its heart, coupled with a Judas Priest head-nodding/singalong quality to it. It’d be a great song if not for the completely unnecessary half a minute of what appears to be a breakdown (!) right in its midst. ‘Pitch Black Cadence’ borrows heavily from the Slayer school of atmosphere, dissonance and whammy bar abuse, and the martial pounding tribal beats driving the song aren’t a hindrance at all. Raw, unpolished, shrieky, not terribly ambitious (this may be a good thing).
DOOMSDAY DERELICTS is a record that is the definition of ‘pointless’. It points us in no particular direction of where Nachtmystium are headed towards in the future; in fact, it was written/recorded before ASSASSINS was released. It offers up no great value in terms of its material either – the songs are either weak, dull or merely decent. The future of USBM lies with Absu, whose latest self-titled I reviewed earlier this year – strong, focused songwriting that rips, roars and destroys with purpose. Not this flaccid, self-serving stuff.