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Nachtmystium - "The World We Left Behind" (CD)

Nachtmystium - "The World We Left Behind" CD cover image

"The World We Left Behind" track listing:

1. Intrusion
2. Fireheart
3. Voyager
4. Into The Endless Abyss
5. In The Absence Of Existence
6. The World We Left Behind
7. Tear You Down
8. On The Other Side
9. Epitaph For A Dying Star

Reviewed by on August 11, 2014

"It's an album full of strong contrasts: raspy vocals alongside up-tempo sections, along with a fair amount of introspective psychedelia."

Touted as the band's final release – which of course immediately and obviously turned out to not be true – the controversial and experimental black metal act Nachtmystium is now sharing the world it (almost) left behind. Bridging the gap between the mostly pure black metal of “Silencing Machine” and the disco black metal of “Black Meddle Part II: Addicts,” “The World We Left Behind” is a satisfying mix of old and new, trying new things while still playing with the sounds the band has become infamous for.

All issues of the front man's poor behavior aside (this review will focus on the music and not the off-stage antics), Nachtmystium is always going to provide something just a bit different and off the beaten path. It's never just the standard same old black metal formula, and every album tries something new to shake up the style. What the guitars are doing is frequently on a totally different plane than what the vocals are doing, and in a lot of cases that would be a recipe for disaster, but here it somehow works. There can be these upbeat rock-fueled chords (such as with “On The Other Side”) being played while shrieking rasps are coming alongside and it all fits together smoothly.

“The World We Left Behind” has a good deal of the feel from the “Addicts” album, with all it's industrial and electronic elements, but they are fused to the black metal in a different way this time around. The zippy laser sound effects on “Tear You Down,” for instance, brings to mind a less frenzied and more introspective version of The Kovenenant's “In Times Before The Light” era. On the whole, it's a fairly morose and bittersweet sound that definitely creates an atmosphere like this is the band's swansong as the group says goodbye, even if that turned out to not actually be the case.

Unfortunately, even with the blending of different styles – a sure fire way to get this reviewer's attention – there is still a decent amount of repetition within each individual song, and most of them are longer than they need to be. If you dig that lulling, repetitious atmosphere that certain segments of the metal realm are known for, then this will be a must-hear album. On the other hand, if you want a song to get to the point and not drag it out for three times as long as it needs to, you'll likely find yourself wishing a few of these songs were trimmed down by two or three minutes apiece.

Other than that particular issue, “The World We Left Behind” is a high point for the Nachtmystium machine. It's an album full of strong contrasts: raspy vocals alongside up-tempo sections, along with a fair amount of introspective psychedelia. Ending track “Epitaph For A Dying Star” even brings out Eastern-style sitar sounds and unexpected clean vocals. The constant melancholy feel fits the subject matter, and the mesh of electronic music with black metal works better than in the past.

Highs: Nachtmystium hits exactly the right atmosphere for its blend of electronic rock and black metal.

Lows: Several of the songs are overly repetitive and could be trimmed down by two minutes without losing anything.

Bottom line: The band gets the mix of melancholy black metal and up-tempo electronica right on this faux "final" release.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)