Fans of USBM that are looking to the new release from Chicago’s stylistic shape-shifters Nachtmystium for a straight-up dose of the genre’s more traditional church-burning brand of fury will find much more than they bargained for. While there are definitely still ties to the black metal world in the band’s current sound, they have been making new additions to their sonic arsenal over the past few years that make them much more than just another USBM outfit.

On Instinct: Decay, vocalist/guitarist Blake Judd and his cohorts maintained allegiance to a solidly black metal approach. However, with 2008’s Assassins -Black Meddle Pt. I, Nachtmystium introduced a few new flavors to their poison, particularly on tracks like “Seasick Parts 1-3“, that went down a different path and forged a somewhat evolved identity for the band and their art.

Addicts – Black Meddle Pt. II  (Century Media) continues the band’s transition from the status of simply being a black metal band when it comes to what you hear in the speakers. Perhaps the closest the record gets to the Instinct: Decay formula could possibly be the first half of “High on Hate” or maybe later, on “Blood Trance Fusion”. Elsewhere the listener will find drum samples, injections of trippy spaced-out rock (such as on the title track), and quirky electronic elements (as found on “No Funerals“). Closing track, “Every Last Drop” plods along slowly, with death march and sci-fi effects intact. Judd’s vocals are still very much retaining their trademark rasp throughout Addicts, driving the message into your skull with ease.

When it comes to the black metal genre, it seems that people are either going to love a band’s effort or hate it. While it is probably a safe bet that Nachtmystium’s newest record won’t be music to every rabid black metal fanatic’s ears, this reviewer finds it to be a definite breath of fresh air into the lungs of the genre in that it offers a genuinely new approach to that type of music. Bands can spout all day about how their new record is going to blow minds, tear down boundaries and add something new to their respective genre, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean they’ve actually succeeded. Nachtmystium’s Addicts – Black Meddle Pt. II is undoubtedly a justifiable exception to that idea. Fans looking for an extension of what was found on Assassins will surely be pleased with this one. With their massive evolution over the past few years, the band has earned 100% bragging rights in that respect. They have begun the creation of a brand new monster, while still holding onto their roots  and seem to be on to something promising here.