Azentrius is quickly climbing the ladder of USBM greatness with an ever growing roster of quality products on his Battle Kommand label, his participation in USBM super group TWILIGHT, and his accomplished string of releases as front man for NACHTMYSTIUM. With "Instinct: Decay" he has pushed his creative and crushing brand of USBM to new heights.
A logical extension of his impressive "Eulogy: IV" release on Southern Lord, "Instinct: Decay" takes the raw savagery and melancholic overtones of that disc and takes it one step further. The man's guitar leads continue to make an impact, whether soaring above the clouds or slicing through the air like a scythe. The mixture of blasting black metal might, oddly serene moments, and dark atmospherics make "Instinct: Decay" an album that gradually overcomes the listener until one finds himself immersed in NACHMYSTIUM's macabre sonic tapestry.
Instrumentals "Instinct" and "Decay" serve as book ends, the former a bubbling cauldron of chilling effects, the latter continuing down a similar road, this time the six minute track underpinned with tribal-esque drumming and conjuring visions of the smoky aftermath of a mass battlefield slaughter. Between the two tracks exists a collection of vicious black metal and pure despondent beauty. "A Seed for Suffering" is a mid-tempo beast that moves from mid-tempo blackened majesty to speeding atrocity, while mournful guitar melodies, chilling soloing, and acoustic pulchritude are heard at various points. It is easily one of the album's best tracks. More traditional black metal speedsters are present as well (i.e. "Keep Them Open" and "Circumvention"), yet Azentrius' trippy flourishes abound. The melancholia returns on "Here's to Hoping" and the seven-minute "Chosen by No One", an opening bass rumble perfectly launching the song into the abyss, as dread pervades. A seamless blend of attacking black metal and grand, even accessible, chords define "The Antichrist Messiah".
"Instinct: Decay" is unquestionably NACHTMYSTIUM's masterwork. Those in search of quality black metal with an underground ambience (general delivery, harsh production, etc) and exquisitely structured arrangements would do well to pick this one up.