NACHTMYSTIUM - The World We Left Behind
August 6, 2014, a year ago
Nachtmystium was arguably one of the most important bands of the '00s, this Chicago collective expanding the parameters of black metal into scopes and shards that not even seasoned black metal adherents could/would foresee. In taking cu(r)es from protagonists as varied as Pink Floyd, Editors, Queens Of The Stone Age and Killing Joke, Nachtmystium's initial ice-cold, Darkthrone-obsessed forays were eventually encased in those varied influences, which led to unpredictably dynamic shocks and awes. Which is why the fact that The World We Left Behind acts as Nachtmystium's last record is so disappointing. By calling it quits now, band founder and visionary Blake Judd is abdicating what might have been an entire career worth of pushing limits into constantly expanding schisms.
But, as a last testament, The World We Left Behind does its duty, the record a complete summation of where Nachtmystium has been over the course of the last decade. In tipping its hat to Norwegian black metal but also embracing Judd's beloved Editors et al, The World We Left Behind says farewell in the most self-aware of ways: it's probably no coincidence that this is the most melancholy Nachtmystium record since Eulogy IV, almost as if The World We Left Behind is mourning the departure it represents.
That said, The World We Left Behind, because of its inclusion of so many facets of Nachtmystium's career, sometimes feels disjointed and splintered. Like The Clash's Combat Rock, which saw its tracks sequenced in very strange and unforgiving ways, The World We Left Behind is the least cohesive Nachtmystium album: even the radical departure that was 2010's Addicts felt like a single, unitary statement (and it's a great record for it). The hazy production here doesn't benefit The World We Left Behind either, the tones sounding cheap instead of the kult that Judd may have envisioned (and has succeeded with in the past). But, in the grand scheme of things, that sort of thing doesn't matter. Judd has presented us with new songs that rival catalogue highlights "Cold Tormentor (I've Become)", "My Vengeance", "A Seed For Suffering", "Your True Enemy", "Nightfall" and "No Funeral". And when a new album is able to assert its creativity within the sphere of a
group's best work, then success has been achieved by any measure. RIP Nachtmystium - it feels like we hardly knew you, and there was so much more to come.