Assassins: Black Meddle Pt 1

Century Media/Candlelight 2008

Before receiving this album, the hype storm had reached near epic proportions.  Would Blake and company be able to match the underground's expectations for Assassins?  Now that I have heard it many times, the answer is a resounding YES!  Each song is a journey of haunting beauty.  The title track leads us into elitist black metal before straying far afield into spaced out psychedlia.  Whereas Ghosts of Grace incorporates more of a Fields of the Nephilim feel to it with its clean guitar line and decidedly gothic tempo.  My favorite track on the album, Your True Enemy blasts out ashen black metal and even has some Celtic Frost inspired middle passages.  Simple and shifting guitar strokes paint vast swathes of darkness throughout the ghostly Code Negative before a decidedly Pink Floyd-esque guitar solo swallows all hope as the songs drifts towards its own demise.  Omnivore eats away at the subconscious through its use of a disorienting undercurrent of virtually dissonant riffing.  Then the song explodes into a blast-beat laden black metal extravaganza.  The closing three-part musical odyssey, Seasick ventures into newfound and mind expanding realms.  Part 2: Oceanbourne blends a jazzy and tropical feel with cosmic textures, and the saxophone and guitar solo are for me, the most sincere and heartfelt moment of the whole album.  Blake's vocals are harsh yet understandable which makes the impact of the lyrics that much more meaningful and filled with venomous truth.  When he says that he never sleeps, I believe him.  Nachtmystium has surpassed all expectations set forth by their last album Instinct Decay.  He has strayed so far from the standard black metal paradigm through use of psychedelic textures, space rock (Hawkwind), lots of Pink Floyd, and no shortage of drive and creative passion.  Assassins is a work of TRUE ART which come few and far between in the overcrowded underground.  It is my leading candidate for album of the year so far.  It will be a hard album it surpass.