Review Summary: Silver Lanterns Guide Me Home
Nachtmystium. A name once synonymous with quality, experimental, border pushing and genre bending music within black metal. Now associated with the acts of one man, Blake Judd. Now I am not going to go into all the controversies surrounding this man, after all this is a review of the music, and not of the man or his actions. Resilient is the comeback EP of Nachtmystium after a 4 year silence, with a new lineup pasted together Blake hit the studio and released this 25 minute monolith of psychedelic black metal, simultaneously familiar and yet untreated territory.
From the opening ambient dirges of 'Conversion' featuring eerie synth and sampling 'Requiem for a Dream' to great effect you know you are in for a dark experience. Conversion succeeds in its endeavor to pull you in, preparing you for the assaulting triumvirate that is to follow.
What this EP does very well is explore a slower style than previous Nachtmystium, with every song spending a lot of time with the brakes firmly on, the title track for example spends a lot of time at a steady pace in the verses, with a beautifully eerie clean guitar riff, before speeding a little up for the choruses and then going right back to that wonderful little lick. The slowing down on each track allows for the riffs and atmosphere to really build up, drawing you in and keeping you there. Nachtmystium this time around are less about warping your mind with psychedelic soundscapes and twisting compositions, but more about building an atmosphere, a dark atmosphere that worms throughout this EP and you cannot help but be drawn in by. The final two tracks really exemplify this, both have repetitive sections that serve to hypnotise the listener and bring them into Blake Judds wretched visions and world that he is conveying through these tracks.
The guitar work is fantastic, whilst we don't get to hear any of the soloing that was all over previous Nachtmystium work, it does not detract from the experience, and personally I think it would actually take away from the experience, atmosphere and message of the work if they were present. What we get instead are well thought out and executed riffs that all work together to create fantastic, melancholic and wonderfully melodic songs. The opening riff to 'Silver Lanterns' serves as an example, the simple yet effective lead riff, that then works so well with that melodic single note tremolo line that joins over the top when the verse starts. Whilst no single riffs are complex, they all serve a purpose, and all work in each song to evolve the tracks and progress them, never feeling forced together or out of place.
The extra elements added also help improve the experience, from the sampling that takes place in a couple of tracks, the choir elements that appear, such as at the end of the title track, also help bring a helpless atmosphere to that track. The bongos during the final track 'Desert Illumination' work surprisingly well, never thought I'd hear bongos in black metal. Vocally, Blake Judd sounds as great as usual, his distinct rasping bark hasn't lost any of its power or emotion during the hiatus and is employed to great effect across all tracks. 'Desert Illumination' also features spoken word and crazy laughter in the background which comes together well.
All in all, this is a great comeback effort from Nachtmystium, all the tracks come together to show that these guys still have more to offer and contribute to the genre, and that they haven't lost any of the spark that made them so unique in the past. My only qualms are that this feels like it's over before it even really begins been so short (a common complaint with any EP) and that the final track does drag on a little too much. Other than that, this is a fantastic release and serves as a statement of intent for the band. Lets hope they stay that way.
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