Mar 042014

(NCS writer BadWolf interviewed Neill Jameson of Krieg and Twilight, whose third and final album is due for release in a couple of weeks. To say it’s a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred discussion would be an understatement. You don’t want to miss this.) 

When it comes to the US Black Metal movement, few individual musicians have made as much of a splash as Neill Jameson. He released his first demo tape as Imperial in 1995—just a year after Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. In the nearly twenty years since, Jameson has produced raw and honest “bedroom” black metal as the sole member of Krieg. Many consider his 2004 LP The Black House to be essential USBM listening. There will be a new Krieg album this year on Candlelight, but first Jameson needs to live through the press cycle for the third Twilight album, III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb.

Jameson had his hands full recording III, dealing with a rotating cast of characters. Twilight has been blighted by negative media attention since the arrest of founding member Blake Judd (also of Nachtmystium). Judd is now out of the band, but Thurston Moore of esteemed noise-punk outfit Sonic Youth is in. Alongside them stands super-producer Sanford Parker, as well as Stavros Giannopoulos of The Atlas Moth and Wrest of Leviathan. These five musicians are giving Twilight the swansong the project deserves.

Jameson took time out of his busy schedule as proprietor of a record store (the man’s Facebook posts, often putting his own customers on blast, are among the funniest you’ll read) to talk with NCS about the tumultuous story of Twilight, from beginning to end.

Oct 112013

Hails and horns from sunny Southern California, where your humble editor has had his days and nights consumed by activities related to the old fuckin’ day job since Wednesday morning. This has viciously interfered with my ability to listen and write about metal. I will have a lot of catching up to do after I return to non-sunny Seattle tonight.

I did wake up early this morning in order to make a quick circumnavigation of the interhole in search of new things, and found some items worth talking about. I’m putting one of them in this post and will collect a few more in the next one, and after that I may have to resort to cat memes for the rest of the day. First item:

In a bit of perhaps unfortunate timing, I saw via a press release this morning that Plastik Musik will be releasing a vinyl split by an East Coast black metal band named Bitter Peace and Chicago’s Nachtmystium. I say “unfortunate timing”, of course, because of Blake Judd’s recent arrest for theft and the subsequent outpouring of criticism about Judd (vividly summarized here), which paints a portrait of a con man and ripoff artist.

Apr 162013

Yesterday I reported that Chicago’s Nachtmystium had called it quits, deciding to go on hiatus for the foreseeable future after parting ways with its longtime lead guitarist Andrew Markuszewski and recording engineer/synth player Sanford Parker. My post was picked up by a lot of other on-line metal outlets. It appears I was wrong. This morning, Blabbermouth reported that Blake Judd had posted the following statement on his personal Facebook page:

“Apparently, some metal news sites have reported today that NACHTMYSTIUM has either ‘broken up’ or is on ‘indefinite hiatus’. Neither of these things are true. The band has gone through some personnel changes in the last few months and I’ve made the decision to cancel all of our summer tour / festival plans while the band regroups. Instead of touring, we will be writing and recording our next full-length album in the coming months, to be released on Century Media worldwide sometime in late 2013. Also, we have pulled our Facebook page offline to revise and update it (giving it a full overhaul with new photos from the past and the present, scans of interviews from magazines throughout the band’s 13 years of existence, etc.) … For the last time and for the record, NACHTMYSTIUM has NOT disbanded and is only on a hiatus in regards to playing shows.

I make it a point not to report rumors on this site; we’re not into gossip or band drama. I based what I wrote yesterday on a statement Blake Judd had made to Stereogum in March (saying that Nachtmystium was “on somewhat of a hiatus for the time being”), on an “official statement” from the band that appeared on the Facebook page of the Belgian metal festival Metal Méan (stating that “The remaining three bandmembers of NACHTMYSTIUM as of today are going to bring the band to a state of hiatus”), on the fact that Nachtmystium had pulled out of a number of European festivals and other concert appearances scheduled for this summer, and on the fact that Nachtmystium’s Facebook page had disappeared without explanation.

Apr 152013

[UPDATE:  In reaction to this post and similar reports elsewhere, Blake Judd has stated that Nachtmystium is NOT kaput and is in fact re-grouping to record a new album for release in 2013. Details here.]

Over the weekend, the news made the rounds on the interwebz (e.g., here) that Chicago’s Nachtmystium is no more (although, as you’ll see in a minute, this news actually broke in March). The following “official statement” was re-published by various sources:

“We are sorry to inform you that NACHTMYSTIUM have decided to cancel all their live activities in the foreseeable future. The band has parted ways with their long time lead guitarist, Andrew Markuszewski, and their recording engineer/synth player, Sanford Parker. The remaining three bandmembers of NACHTMYSTIUM as of today are going to bring the band to a state of hiatus.”

Although I didn’t see it at the time, the handwriting appeared on the wall via a March 7 article on Stereogum, in which writer Michael Nelson reported the following message he received from Nachtmystium’s Blake Judd: “Hate Meditation is my main focus currently as Nachtmystium is on somewhat of a hiatus for the time being.”

I guess it’s now more than “somewhat of a hiatus”. Among other things, Nachtmystium’s official Facebook page has disappeared.

Jan 262013

Welcome to Part 17 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.

I’ve been tramping through the forest of black metal the last couple of days and decided to stay there at least one more day. I’ve been pretty sure for a while that this list would include music from each of today’s three very different albums. The hard part came in picking just one song from each.

GOATWHORE

This NOLA band’s 2102 album Blood For the Master was reviewed for us here by Andy Synn. It was loaded with great metal, but I ultimately picked “When Steel and Bone Meet” for this list. To borrow Andy’s word, “When Steel… is a bar-room brawl set to music, chains and fists flying in a drunken, grooving orgy of violence that manages to cram in a swaggering groove, pummeling power-riffage, and some switchblade soloing in barely more than 3 minutes.”

Jan 022013

Yesterday I posted two catch-up features in an effort to spread the word about new music and news I came across over the long holiday weekend. But two really wasn’t enough. So, here’s a third.

SORCERY

The revival of old school death metal marches on.  In this instance, the purveyors are not newcomers mimicking the style, but people who were doing this when the old school was young.

Sorcery are a Swedish band who originally came together in the late 80s. By 1991 they had recorded an assortment of demos and one full-length album (Bloodchilling Tales), and then dissolved. Their revival began in 2009 with the recording of a new demo (followed by a second in 2012), and now they’re on the verge of releasing a new album — Arrival At Six — on the Xtreem Music label (release date: Jan 15). Of course, it was recorded at Sunlight Studios, by Tomas Skogsberg. And as you can see, it features completely killer cover art by Daniel Devilish.

Thanks to a tip from Utmu, yesterday I listened to the first single from the album, “Warbringer”. 

Oct 102012

Chicago guitarist Jeff Wilson is a busy dude. In addition to his bands Chrome Waves and Wolvhammer, both of which we’ve praised here at NCS in the past, he’s also a driving force in a new collective called Doomsday. He’s got some heavyweight talent along for the Doomsday ride, too:

Bassist Bob Fouts (The Gates of Slumber, Chrome Waves, Apostle Of Solitude)
Guitarist/vocalist Jon Woodring (Bones)
Drummer Zack Simmons (Goatwhore)
Vocalist Zion Meagher (Anti-Human Thesis).

In some ways this group is like a Nachtmystium alumni reunion, since Wilson, Woodring, Simmons, and Meagher were all previously involved with that band — and Doomsday’s self-titled, six-song EP was engineered by Nachtmystium’s Sanford Parker, along with Carl Byers (Coffinworm). It will be released on November 6 by Wilson’s newly founded label Disorder Recordings, and it features brilliantly occult cover art by Christina Caperson.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten the details out of the way and nearly sunk this review under the weight of all those links, I do have a few words to say about the music: It’s really fuckin’ good.

Oct 092012

(One of the most-read pieces we’ve ever published at NCS was BadWolf’s May 2011 interview of Blake Judd and his bandmates in Nachtmytium. This year brought us a new Nachtmystium album — Silencing Machine – and another BadWolf interview of Blake Judd, which follows.)

This interview happened on july fifth.

Yeah.

This interview sat on my hard drive for a few months, gumming up the works. Blake Judd was my first ‘break’ as a blogger on this very website. Since then he’s become one of my favorite people to work with (when you can keep him in one place for more than ten seconds). Honestly, I found that interview so hard to follow that I nearly deleted this one. But you deserve to hear it. Judd only gives excellent interviews, and his new album, Silencing Machine [reviewed here]  is likewise excellent.

Judd and I shot the shit for close to a half hour, talking about the cancellation of Gathering of Shadows fest, Roadburn, the new record, marriage, and what makes a good song.

 

BadWolf: The heat’s really fucking with me. I don’t know how people stand it.

Blake Judd: I was at South by Southwest earlier this year. Probably the tenth time I’ve been to Austin and I love that city, I’d love to live there. When it gets cold I keep saying to the wife we should move down there. Then you get a day like this? No way I could ever live somewhere this hot.

Sep 142012

One last post for this Friday, with a focus on recently announced U.S./Canada tours.

First, it was announced today that Nachtmystium will be headlining the Dawn Over the Ruins of America tour, which also includes Jarboe (featuring Baleyyg) and Canada’s Weapon. All of the dates have not yet been released, but the ones that have are after the jump. Also, although I know Jarboe used to be in Swans, that’s about the extent of my knowledge about her work, and I know zip about Baleyyg. So if anyone has any insights, leave a comment. Nachtmystium and Weapon, of course, are must-see bands for yours truly. (Thanks to Utmu and Vonlughlio for the tip about this one.)

Second, Boston’s mighty Revocation will be headlining a tour, and A Life Once Lost and KEN Mode will be along for that ride. I’ve almost lost count of how many times I’ve seen Revocation, because they tour like there’s no tomorrow, and every damned show has been killer. And if you saw tomorrow’s earlier post about ALOL, well, you know how I feel about them. KEN Mode is another band I am very interested in seeing. Those dates are also after the jump.

Third, Lambgoat is reporting that Dying Fetus will be touring late this year with Cattle Decapitation and Cerebral Bore in tow. There’s been no official announcement, but Lambgoat has ferreted out three venues where this line-up has been announced so far. I’ll just sum up my thoughts about this tour as follows: HELLS FUCKING YEAH!

Aug 032012

(In this review, BadWolf provides his take on the new album by Chicago’s Nachtmystium.)

What does it mean when Nachtmystium, a band whose success has sprung from breaking convention, releases a return-to-form? Silencing Machine, portentous title and all, disposes of the psychedelic and dance-rock elements of its predecessors, as well as much of frontman Blake Judd’s morbid introspection. Rather, its constant aggression and meditation on worldly issues recalls more of classic Metallica and Marduk than, say, Marillion.

I will say first that Nachtmystium mean a great deal to me personally—Black Meddle‘s One (Assassins) and Two (Addicts) both saw me through great personal tumult — and second, that my favorite thing about Blake Judd and his band of crusty ne’er-do-wells is their ability to take one sound per record and twist it into several unique permutations. A good psychedelic album takes you someplace—a good Nachtmystium album takes you several places.

So when I first heard Silencing Machine, I found it toothless. Most of the songs on Silencing Machine follow the general formula of Assassins’ title track: black metal intro, transition to groove section, optional return to black metal section, end. Nothing stuck with me besides the big, juicy chorus on the title track. For the first time, Nachtmystium bored me, and I anticipate it will bore many on first listen.

I urge you to listen several times—Blake Judd writes albums that take some digging to sink in. Silencing Machine proved a compelling ride when I gave it the opportunity. This year Nachtmystium took their lessons in atmosphere and rhythm from the previous two albums and applied them to an aggro black metal template.

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