Natchmystium - Assassins

Natchmystium are perhaps the biggest North American group gravitating towards the Black-Metal scope in the last few years, though I’ve always considered them to be a little overrated and never quite understood all the attention channelled into a banal Black-Metal act that records in a bedroom closet and only occasionally veers into some Progressive territories.
However, something has changed with the new album “Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. I” since Natchmystium has completely broadened their horizons beyond the conventional Black Metal sonorities not only by boldly and shamelessly incorporating Psychedelic and Progressive elements from the 70’s, but also by improving their execution and production skills. The inclusion of the fantastic Tony Laureano (Nile, Angelcorpse and Dimmu Borgir) as session drummer and Parker Sanford (Minsk, Yakuza, Rwake and Pelican) as producer were definitely precious acquisitions.
“Assassins” is an album that in many ways defies the rules of the so called trve Black-Metal, their approach is innovative and singular as if we are dealing with a complete reinvention, but at the same time it’s more accessible than previous works.
The admiration that Natchmystium’s mentor Blake Judd nourishes for Pink Floyd is perfectly perceivable, not only through the obvious choices of the album title and the opening theme, but through the atmospheric instrumentals and psychedelic and trippy passages of some songs as well. The opening track “One of These Nights” is one of these instrumentals, it starts with a wind sound close to a Space-Prog style that later introduces a laidback riff that serves as introduction to the «real» theme “Assassins”, an onslaught of a more traditional Black-Metal style with a fast and aggressive rhythm and some screamed vocals in the chorus. “We Are Nothing, We Fell Nothing” shouts Judd in a furious, catchy and quite unusual tone for the Natchmystium mould. The title-track finishes by recovering the atmosphere that initiated the album, a psychedelic and relaxed Spacey-Rock. The following song, “Ghosts of Grace” is truly memorable, with an almost up-tempo rhythm it shows guitarists Judde and Jeff Wilson delivering some really contagious melodies that posses a certain 70’s Rock groove. “Ghosts of Grace” is without a doubt my personal favourite.
Throughout the remaining songs, Natchmystium alternates between a more aggressive and dirty approach like for instance in the intense “Your Enemy” and the fast and rude “Omnivore” and a more relaxed experimentalism like in themes as “Code Negative” and the trilogy “Seasick”, where the influences of Pink Floyd possibly reach their highest peak.
“Assassins: Black Meddle pt I”, is a work that will not please all Natchmystium fans, the more conservatives ones have possibly already turned their backs to the new tendencies explored by the Chicago group. However, it is definitely a work that will conquer new followers, like those who like their music adventurous and unpredictable. I for example am already converted to the cause.

Band info:
Label info: