Thursday, September 16, 2010, Nachtmystium with Zoroaster, Atlas Moth, Dark Castle
31 Webster St
$12 - 7:00PM
Buy tickets now
"I want to be known as someone who does something different and is known for pushing boundaries."
With that one quote, Nachtmystium mastermind Blake Judd, sums up his philosophy on creating music. It's been a long strange trip for the band, which has seen them start out as a more traditional black metal outfit and then with 2006's "Instinct: Decay" morphing into a more experimental outfit, often pushing against the set musical agenda of the scene they started out in.
Despite what you may think of him, Judd isn't much concerned how he is perceived by the black metal community. In fact, it's the sometimes limiting nature of that community which has led him down the path he is on.
It didn't start out like that, originally he was drawn to black metal for the sense of freedom he felt from the music, but that soon shifted, after he began to get bored with all the restrictions that go with any underground musical movement who are interested in defending their purity. This isn't something that just happens in black metal or metal in general, it happens in a lot of underground musical communities. Just look at all the bands so-called punk bible Maximum Rock n Roll has deemed not worthy of the punk tag because they played fast and loose with supposedly rigid drawn boundaries. Sometimes being an innovator is frowned upon.
With Nachtmystium, Judd used black metal as his base, but his thirst and passion for new sounds has led the project into uncharted territories, which will ultimately put him at odds with any defenders of purity, whether they be real or on the internet.
This philosophy extends to the band's newest album, "Addicts: Black Meddle Part II, which features Judd, on lead and rhythm guitars and vocals, Jeff Wilson on lead and rhythmn guitar, Will Lindsay of Wolves In The Throne Room on bass and guitars, producer extraordinaire Sanford Parker on synths, and Wrest from Leviathan on drums.
"I basically wanted to make something new and fresh, something that wasn't already in my record collection," said Judd. "We just took the influences of bands like Killing Joke, Joy Division and other post-punk bands and blended them with the sound we were working with."
As with the last album, 2008's "Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1", which saw the band mining the trippier and proggier elements aspects of 70's rock and mixing it with the their already established black metal sound, the new one is a totally different beast. But it doesn't start out like that.
After a brief intro, the CD blasts into life with the true black metal sounds of "High On Hate", which the most traditionally black metal song on the album. But from there, it takes various twists and turns. "Nightfall" sounds like blackened 70's riff rock, while "Blood Trance Fusion" adds squiggly synths to the mix, before ending in a blast of punk rock glory. "Every Last Drop" reflects the spacier Pink Floyd inspired parts of the last album.
But the one track that will most likely turn heads, for both good and bad, is "No Funeral", with its guitar-played-through-bass-synth accents and snare drum sample, it's a song which can only be described as disco black metal. It would be the type of song black metal kids would dance to, if they weren't too busy worrying about being true or cult.
Originally, though, the plan wasn't to make a new-wave black metal CD.
"I don't know where this came from. I thought this one was going to be more feral, but it turned out exactly the polar opposite," said Judd.
The record deals with themes of addiction to substances and with the life of a metal band on the road, with all the highs and lows that entails. It's about making peace with the consequences of your choice to be in a touring band and trying to make a living from your music.
Judd is at peace with his choices right now, because the band has become more successful, even more surprisingly they've become more successful just as they've started to fuck with their formula, which is something that rarely happens to bands that take risks.
"It's great to see new places or come to places we've played before and have more people show up than the last time we played. It's very cool and flattering. You get a unique sense of accomplishment. At this point, the good outweighs the bad," said Judd.
In fact, Judd would like to take the band as far as it can go, citing Mastodon as an example of a band growing without compromising their artistic vision.
It looks like the sky is the limit for Nachtmystium creatively, their dedication to screwing with people's perceptions have made them one of the more exciting metal bands existing today. Maybe it is a good thing to fuck with people and their expectations every now and then. It really looks like it's working in their favor.