Driving to work in a thunderstorm, the morning shadowed by a dark sky, lightning cracks sounding, trying not to hydroplane, as I watch a series of accidents along the roadway, the backdrop is perfect as the re-release of NACHTMYSTIUM's "Eulogy IV" blasts from the stereo. The EP was first released on Battle Kommand Records.The U.S. black metal band's music hits the often-elusive sweet spot of raw/primitive feel and fairly accomplished songwriting. The five songs that begin the album are each quality slabs of grimness and malevolence, the attribute making the tunes stand out from pack being the searing and melodic guitar solos. "Bleed for Thee", "The Wound which Cannot Heal", and the title track soar with those mesmerizing solos over an old school attack. Two of the five, bookends "My Vengeance" and "You Get Nothing", are more traditional and up-tempo. The former features a buzzing DARKTRHONE guitar sound and simple groove with a somewhat thrashy delivery. The latter is a decidedly more droning track with shouted/echoed vocals. The EP portion would have done the trick for me, but the bonus tracks make it a worthwhile purchase if you've already got the original release. The live version of EARTH'S "Charioteer (Temple Song)" has an Eastern European gypsy flavor, which right now is the only description that comes to mind. Just imagine guitar/bass/drum parts that conjure images of folks with both arms in the air snapping fingers and dancing during a macabre ceremony. NACHTMYSTIUM's rendition works as a sort of transition from the EP to the bonus half of the disc. The seven-minute cover of BURZUM's "Stemmen Fra Tarnet" exemplifies the buzz 'n roll of the legends and NACHTMYSTIUM certainly does it justice. The fright and chills of VON's "Satanic Blood" are retained as well. The album closes with the live "medley" of "Antichrist Messiah/My Vengeance", the ripping and predictably lo-fi attack an appropriate way to end the black mass.
The Southern Lord release is limited to 1,000 numbered copies (I now own number 557), so don't wait too long to make your purchase. Another strong underground U.S. black metal release, this one's got the feeling and the songs to feed any junkie's habit.