Instinct: Decay

Battle Kommand/Southern Lord 2006

The American black metal scene has been gaining prominence in the recent past with such important acts as Leviathan, Xasthur, and Krieg among others.  I think it is high time to add Nachtmystium to your list if they are not already there.  Nachtmystium is growing by leaps and bounds with each release and Instinct: Decay sees them at their most mature and exciting state to date.  They have taken primal and raw black metal and have woven such emotive and passionately cold sonic textures into the very fabric of each song.  On a Seed for Suffering they deftly sow the obscene aesthetics of traditional black metal together with an acoustic guitar that gives was to a fuzzed out almost "moog" sounding guitar that pulls the listener across the fabric of time.  It summons such a feeling of sorrow and Isolation within me.  On Keep Them Open, Nachtmystium blast away before leaving you disoriented with some odd leads and further obfuscate the situation by trailing off into some fuzzy background noises.  Possibly my favorite song on the album is also possibly the most traditional, Eternal Ground with its speedy riffs that round out to a melodic flourish at the end.  The way it arcs up to a higher not towards the end of the riffs just kills me!  Azentrius and the guys are sheer genius in their understanding that the small details can certainly enhance the whole composition in profound ways. 
I do have a slight problem with the production on this album.  The high pitched melodic lead guitars are on such a high level that when contrasted with the vocals and traditional black metal passages they seem to bury them.  Or I guess it would be the other way around.  Basically what I am saying is that the primitive parts should be higher in the mix.  But as an artistic whole, Instinct: Decay definitely achieves its goal and the listener becomes mesmerized BY and lost IN the music.  This overlying sense of isolation and melancholy and a flowing current of hatred permeate Instinct: Decay throughout its entirety.  Such is the whole emotional and sonic package that this album invokes one could almost think of it as a doom or even ambient industrial metal project without it actually resembling either one of those styles even remotely.  This sort of creation takes not just skill and talent but a passionate drive for dark art.  Nachtmystium have proven they are artists at their darkest.