Originally written by Patrick Dawson
A reissue of the most recent release form U.S. black metal warriors Nachtmystium, Southern Lord has picked up this limited run and juiced it up with extra material for one more shot at the consumer shelves. With an album opener like “My Vengeance” that displays perhaps the most perfect riff style and tempo that aggressive American black metal has to offer, I am once again reminded why I keep coming back to this band to see how they have progressed. Nachtmystium have consistently and unapologetically pilfered the best ideas from black metal pioneers like Darkthrone and mixed that raw intensity with a bit of thoughtful reverence and melancholy more commonly associated with the better work of bands like Judas Iscariot and Mütiilation. That was then, and this is now. What you the listener will find emblazoned on this silver disc is the confident strides of a band finally coming into their own and doing so in damn fine fashion.
The ripping cadence of the first track functions as sort of a bridge between the band’s old and new directions. Backing vocals and lead guitar are not aspects I typically associate with the raw side of black metal, and yet here they are in abundance. No matter how hard I push my inner cynical metal fan I can not bring him to find fault with the aspects Azentrius and company have executed so flawlessly on Eulogy IV. The traditional approach of seeking atmosphere through bargain production jobs alone is drastically cheapened by the mastery displayed here. Tailored guitar solos blend perfectly with the accompaniment and reverb reshapes sinister chord phrasing all within the context of a dense but serviceable production. The new songs are engrossing and powerful in a delightfully evil fashion.
When your average band tosses a few covers on a record it’s usually to fill space while simultaneously getting to play a song they have enjoyed listening to outside the context of their own music. The feeling from the later half of Eulogy IV is a bit different. The extra material is made up of live recordings taken from several different performances. First up is Earth’s “Charioteer (Temple Song)”, taken from the Blitzkrieg Festival in 2003. They seem to have played with the arrangement a bit, but it’s not a bad rendition of a song many may have yet to hear. Next up is a cover of “Stemmen Fra Tarnet”, by Burzum, recorded during one of the band’s past demo sessions. There is not much to say about this track, its one of Burzum’s best songs and it is handled well; they even go so far as to mimic Varg’s shrieking vocal style. Lastly we find a homage to the band’s American influence with Von’s “Satanic Blood.” Taking into account that no level of talent or production could elevate this track beyond its base level berserker approach I find it to be a fitting close to an album by a band who clearly respect their forefathers enough to have moved beyond them. Kudos to Southern Lord once again for stepping up and getting behind material truly deserving of notice.