Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nachtmystium, "Addicts: Black Meddle Part II"; Horseback, "The Invisible Mountain"

A couple of songs into the new Nachmystium album, I'd thought I'd stumbled onto a Kiss record with slightly more distorted vocals. Maybe I just don't listen to enough metal because if I did, maybe I'd understand why so many metal bands turn toward rock opera or any other number of little WTF touches on their albums when they seemingly become bored of making the same music year in and year out. Maybe I'd be as bored of their signature sounds as they are. Call me crazy, but when I listen to a metal album, I want to hear, you know, metal. Luckily, "Then Fires" confirmed that "Addicts: Black Meddle Part II" was in fact a black metal album, and the latter two-thirds of the album really brought the goods.

Somehow I missed out on Horseback's 2009 album completely, I may vaguely remember hearing something about how he'd pursued a more guitar-oriented direction. I might have interpreted that as a shift toward more bass-heavy drones because let's face it, you couldn't find a way to stuff more guitar onto "Impale Golden Horn" unless you loaded it up with the low-end rumblings of the likes of Sunn O))).

Whatever I was thinking, I was wrong because I didn't know that "The Invisible Mountain" was a metal album. Not a riff/drone album, but a real metal album, with drums and vocals and extended running times and everything. Only the blissful album closer "Hatecloud Dissolving into Nothing" sounds like it could be a continuation of what Jenks Miller started on "Impale Golden Horn", and it's certainly the weakest track out of the four. James Plotkin mastered this album, and although I can't claim to have followed his career too closely, I can't say I've heard anything better with his name on it. His fingerprints are all over the trebly drums and the scorching, heavy dub-like bass of the title track. A sensational effort from Miller and his cohorts in crafting an album that features both the heavy and serene sides of metal.

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