Released: 2014, Century Media
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The news that US black metal band Nachtmystium were stepping down for good seems to have barely finished resounding before another album has made its way out into the world. Having been a tumulus few years for founder Blake Judd, alienating his band members and being incarcerated last year for stealing money from fans to fuel his drug addiction, his actions have damaged fans trust and admiration alike, but their position as a staple of the black metal scene still is undeniable. Constantly pushing boundaries, black metal has needed Nachtmystium to continue breathing life into what can be accused of being a rigid and decaying genre obsessed more with rules and tradition than originality. Still, while some may have turned their backs on the band, there were many who rejoiced at the news of a continuation.
The World we Left Behind marks a new chapter for both Judd and Nachtmystium. Previous records constantly resonated with undertones of addiction and torment, but with Judd’s recent claims of being clean, there was bound to be a change in direction with this record. The album explores themes from his recent years, delving into the addition, recovers and ending on finality, a point that seems at odds with the recent decision not to actually end the band.
For those who have, considering the recent events, taken the choice to ignore this album, let me reassure you now, you will not be missing anything. The album crawls its way through each of the nine tracks, lacking life, imagination or passion. The editing is poor, the electronic sections acting more like insertions of embellishment marching wildly through on their own blind path while the guitars continue to repeat the same mantra underneath. Each track is as endlessly uninspiring as the last. The album may have been somewhat saved by the opening of Into the Endless Abyss, which begins with frantic guitars and a tirade of drums reminiscent of earlier works, but even that long outstays its welcome, and when the song finally changes we are left once again in a directionless sonic meandering jumping from one idea to the next with little semblance of transition or continuation.
Looking back at their career, The World we left Behind hardly scratches at the brilliance we have become accustomed to, barely touching the level of Instinct: Decay or Assassins, and even Silencing Machine, an album that divided fans stands out as a masterpiece compared to this. Nachtmystium may not have left the world behind after all, but I can’t help but wish they had done.
Review by Caitlin Smith