Once upon a time, Black Sabbath wrote a song that goes something like, “Revolution in their eyes, the children start to march.” Even if you couldn’t take any lyrics from the classic cut, “Children Of The Grave,” you’d know the riff. It’s one of those “easiest riff ever” riffs, a riff that they performed so succinctly, they basically fucked over any other band that wanted to do something similar. At least, any metal band.
Nachtmystium, bucking trends again.
Starting their latest full-length, Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. 1, with what’s essentially the main riff of the fabled Sabbath tune, it’s almost a wonder if they noticed. But strangely, this egregious step on their part is basically forgiveable, though forever noticeable. It’s probably because it’s just a short intro. Still, there’s several points of Assassins that make you wonder what’s going on, and it seems to be a sort of influence-overload. There’s a lot going on here.
Coming off 2006’s Instinct: Decay, an impressively wall-breaking release in its own right, the release seems almost traditionally black metal in comparison to Assassins. Frontman Blake Judd’s voice has risen in a far less nasty mix. The almost bluesy psychedelic influence is pushed farther as well, with saxophones and metal jams carrying the latter half of the record to its completion.
In the short term, it’s a pretty enervating record, a fairly solid piece of progressive-leaning music in a genre that prides itself on a refusal to evolve. Still, there’s a lingering feeling that the landmark aura that surrounds Assassins may be more in the idea of the album than the execution.
Still, I can’t tell. Check with me in a year.
In A Word: Signal