If you’ve listened to our Metalheads podcast recently you may be aware that there have been some bands over the years that I used to really dump on, but that in more recent times I have come to better understand and even appreciate. Nachtmystium happens to be one of those situations where I am now prepared to eat crow. Four full courses of crow, in fact.
I have never had much of a problem with Nachtmystium’s songwriting; it has always been the production that turned me off. In 2012 I wrote a rather snarky review of the band’s previous album, ”The Silencing Machine”, and was chagrined when I found out the band still decided to like and share my review. Was this an instance of “there’s no such thing as bad press”?
In the last several years my tastes have changed and matured and I have found myself listening to and enjoying some pretty grungy and raw music. So when I heard that Nachtmystium were about to release their final album, I knew I should give the band another go.
The past year or so has not been big fun for Nachtmystium mastermind Blake Judd. Legal woes and drug addiction have been mentioned in the press, but despite all that, it still shocked many, myself included, when Blake announced that “The World We Left Behind” would be the final Nachtmystium album.
When Century Media passed along the promo for the new release I was very eager to hear what this final release would sound like. Would the band go out on top, or just phone in a mediocre swan song? Given all the things I’d been reading about Blake, I really did not know what to expect.
After sitting through the opening intro track I finally sank my teeth into the second track, “Fireheart.” Hell yeah! This was what I’ve been waiting for from Nachtmystium! The production sounds clean and clear, but not overly produced or compressed. I was at once both happy and sad. Happy because I felt the band was finally achieving their potential, and of course sad because this was coming seemingly too late. I should note that several weeks later, when my vinyl pre-order arrived, the album sounded even better.
So if you have been wondering whether “The World We Left Behind” is worth plunking down your hard-earned cash, I am going on record as saying, yes, yes it is. That’s not the end of this story though.
Several days ago I was pleased to find out that “The World We Left Behind” might not be the end of Nachtmystium after all. I read an interview (I believe it was in Terrorizer) where Blake states that he is thinking of carrying on with the band. To paraphrase, at the time he announced the end of the band he had been in a very dark place, battling heroin addiction, and felt the only way to get past that darkness was to lay down the band and work on himself.
But now that Blake has apparently conquered his demons, he feels ready to pick up the mantle once again. Check out the lyrics to tracks like “The World We Left Behind” and “On the Other Side” to get a feel for the struggle and raw emotion Blake funneled into this album. Congrats to Blake for both getting his shit together and releasing another great album.
That’s right, I said another. Remember those four courses of crow I mentioned earlier? Yeah, in preparation for writing this review I decided to listen back through some of the earlier albums to see how they compared and whether my opinion had changed over time. I only had time to go back four albums, as far as “Assassins: Black Meddle Pt I.” Each of the four albums between then and now impressed me. I had a hard time remembering what my issue was with the production, because they all sounded pretty good to me now. No, they aren’t perfectly clear and the vocals are sometimes buried, but on the whole, I felt each album had a unique personality and sound and I look forward to visiting them further. I expect I’ll have to give a listen to the earlier albums as well.
This should be a lesson that all music reviews are subjective and should be taken with a heaping mound of salt. This is why I always encourage you to listen for yourself. Just because I may not enjoy something, that doesn’t man you won’t end up loving it. With that in mind, check out the track, “Tear You Down” and form your own opinion. I’m pretty sure you will like it.
Since the time that this posted it has come to my attention that Blake Judd is apparently not actually changing his ways. I have read several subsequent stories of Blake using nefarious methods of collecting money he is not due, or collecting money for things he does not intend, or have rights, to provide product for. This leaves me disappointed and unsure about endorsing his music. Make of this what you will.