Nachtblut: Antik (2011 Reissue)

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Nachtblut: Antik (2011 Reissue)
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Nachtblut: Antik (2011 Reissue)
Gothic Metal, Melodic Black Metal
Napalm Records (2011), Self-release
2009 / October 4th, 2011
Release length: 48:33
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Nachtblut is a German Melodic Black Metal band with a strong Gothic Metal atmosphere to many of their songs. The group formed back in 2005, and shares it’s name with a couple other bands that have disbanded or changed their name over the years from the same country. Back in 2007, Nachtblut released their debut album Das erste Abendmahl themselves, which did not really meet with great attention from fans of the style, or even the critics. Two years later, the band entered the studio and did the same thing for their follow-up recording, Antik. However, for a late 2011 reissue, Napalm Records picked up this release to distribute it worldwide. But, is this an effort that truly warrants label attention?

Well, one of the positive elements of this album is the recording quality. The release has a sleeker sounding audio to it, which captures the atmosphere of the keyboards nicely. The guitars sound heavy, though not that sharp to better reflect the traditional Black Metal sense, and the bass is pretty loud in the mix, which you can easily pick up on supporting the guitars and giving them a bit of a blunt edge, even when listening casually. The drums sound good with a loud thud on the bass kicks and tight sounding snares with cymbols that crash nicely, but aren’t really anything that make much of an impact. The keyboards here really steal the show though, being at a slightly louder level at times. Vocally, it doesn’t really work that well. While the performance is good, it clashes against what the band is trying to do musically with it’s traditional blackened rhaspy performance that’s surprisingly crisp with the audio quality.

Right off the bat, this group seems to be a mixture of the more commanding style of Industrial act Rammstein, showing a bit of influence in some tracks such as the title track “Ijobs Botschaft,” as well as the gothic atmosphere of modern day Cradle of Filth to this group’s Melodic Black Metal sound. And honestly, that gothic sound is phenomenal on many of these tracks. “Antik” starts off nicely with a more nature oriented beauty to the music that will actually stop the listener in his or her tracks with how unexpected it is given the artwork and the band’s physical appearance, as well as hearing they are a Melodic Black Metal band. However, this track just does not feel like a Black Metal song to begin with, having more of a joyous Folk feel to it. The vocals really feel out of place on this, and while they performance itself is not bad, you just can’t help but feel clean singing would have suited this song better, or at least some accompanying vocals, male or female, preferably the latter of the two. The sad thing is there are some, but it’s probably an audio clip as it lasts only a few moments and appears at the very end before bleeding into the heavier Rammstein-esque “Ijobs Botschaft.” This is perhaps one of the better heavier tracks on here, mostly because of the energy that the band brings and it’s more commanding approach. The same can be said for “Sturz Des Ikarus,” another energetic song with a good deal of heaviness behind it, and not so much intensity. The vocal approach works for it, and the additional chanting vocals in the background and even spoken word sections that appear randomly on the song help the track sound richer and add more to the vocals.

While the vocals often don’t seem to really fit the music being played, the track “Gedenket Der Toten” does work a bit with the brand of Black Metal vocals used here. The song itself carries that strong gothic beauty to it, but has enough heaviness to much of the song that the dirtier rhasps fit in with it, and when the song slows down and has a more frozen-sounding keyboard performance, the changing to a cleaner, more spoken word segment works to try to better suit that piece being played. This does lead into another slower track, which seems to be the main allure of this album moreso then songs with a good deal of energy or intensity, again playing off a bit more of a Folk atmosphere in most. “Die Mutter Die Ihr Kind Verlor” is one of those more Folk Metal type songs, sticking with that more nature-driven atmosphere that eventually gives way to a closing that includes bird chirping to really hammer that understanding in. But, of all the things to really wonder about with this album, it would be the Alestorm-esque keyboard solo that sets a Pirate theme to the song for a very brief period of time, and literally comes out of nowhere near the end of the song.

Overall, the music of Antik may be rich with atmosphere more times then not, but it ends up often just feeling like the same thing over and over. “Kreuzigung” is one of the more diverse of the heavier tracks, but again you just feel like you’ve heard it already a couple times over. The pace is always pretty close to other tracks, either being a slower pace or mildly slow pace with the only big deal breaker being the amount of energy incorporated into the song, the guitars are usually the same kind of performance which varies between simple chords that don’t really sound too Black Metal to begin with and often just played slowly, and the vocals are always the same outside of random moments with a higher scream, guttural, spoken word, or sampled (I assume) female singing that barely lasts past the equivalent of one, maybe two lines of lyrics through the whole thing outside one or two key tracks. Even when the music picks up like with “Hexe,” the music will hammer away really fast then give way to music that goes from a mid-tempo to a mildly slow pace like every other heavier song on here.

Antik is an album that will simply leave listeners unimpressed. It’s not as if Nachtblut does a poor job at this album though. Musically, it has some good tracks that push a gothic beauty, or more nature driven sound. “Sturz Des Ikarus” even has a more pirate themed section of the music. Those parts are pretty impressive, and even the vocals are good, but they just feel very out of place on this album. In the end, what variety is here just isn’t enough, and it just feels like a regressed typical effort without anything much that really stands out.

01. Antik – 3:54
02. Ijobs Botschaft – 5:14
03. Die Blutgrafin – 5:19
04. Gedenket Der Toten – 5:30
05. Die Mutter Die Ihr kind Verlor – 5:11
06. Sturz Des Ikarus – 4:59
07. Kreuzigung – 5:10
08. Hexe – 5:13
09. Des Menschen Kunst Blinmdheit Zu Saen – 3:34
10. Kreuzritter – 4:25
Initial Pressing Score: 4.5/10

2011 Reissue Score: 4.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.