Review Summary: An exceptional DSBM release.
Nyktalgia is a German DSBM band formed 2001 and disbanded in 2008. The band consists of vocalist Skjeld, drummer Winterheart, and guitarist/bassist Malfeitor. They’ve put out two full length releases with topics covering pain, suicide, and darkness; the first was the self-titled, “Nyktalgia,” released in 2004, followed four years later by their sophomore four-track album, “Peisithanatos.”
This record has middle of the road production for a black metal album, not super clean but not super raw, making it something any black metal fan could enjoy. Skjeld’s vocals are very powerful, raspy, and chainsaw-esque, bringing acts like Burzum to mind. The bass plays harmony to compliment the alternating guitar riffs that are the centerpiece of this album, while the drums hop back and forth between furious blast beats and repetitive rhythms chalked full of fills. The lack of repetition and frequent changing of guitar riffs and drum fills make this a more dynamic album that most DSBM, but not to a fault. The music still has an incredibly dreary, sad sound coated in all of the harshness of the instrumentation, but at times it almost feels like incoherent noodling. That being said, the listener never gets too bored or lost in the instrumentation, and each song is uniquely different from the rest.
The album opener, “Nyktalgia,” clocks in at eleven minutes long and throws you right into the storm with no need for a flowery opening or ambient intro, and a few seconds later Skjeld’s kick-ass vocals swoop in over the tremolo picking that’s so prominent in this track. There are a few interludes with slightly heavier bass and muffled blast beats that really give the song more personality, a solid opener through and through. The following song, “Nekrolog,” is slower yet darker than its predecessor. “Nekrolog” assaults the listener with fast, precise blast beats and fills reminiscent of Black Sabbath. The guitars are sludgier and alternate in and out of the spotlight with the vocals. My favorite track is the album closer, “Pavor Nocturnus,” a song that shows how effective emphasizing bass can be in black metal. This song is full of repetition and bass lines played for extended periods of time and revisited throughout the song. The vocals here and really spot on too, ranging from restrained moans to shrill shrieks and screams. With the bass over-powering all other instruments and Skjeld’s shrieks, this song is truly a unique masterpiece.
Peisithanatos is a gem that deserves more recognition than it has. It’s a very dynamic release that shows off the musical talent of Nyktalgia while still retaining the harsh, repetitive DSBM sound that fans crave. The use of prominent bass along with other elements break Peisithanatos out of the stereotypical DSBM niche without changing the fact that it IS a depressive black metal album, and an extremely good one at that. I strongly recommend this album to any fan of any subgenre of black metal.