Nachtblut, as you might imagine from the name, are of Germanic origin. Translated into English, “Nightblood” doesn’t quite sound the same. Like a number of other bands, notably Rammstein, they make best use of the expressiveness and harshness of the German language. The musical medium on “Dogma”, their third album, is a heavy electro Gothic style.
Although dark in principle and erring towards the leadenness of a piece of stale piece of stollen, Nachtblut do manage to transcend the punishment factor and deliver some well-controlled, catchy songs loosely in the vein of Crematory and Dutch gothsters Clan of Xymox. In particular the first track “Dogma” is excellent. This deep song is all at the same time groovy and atmospheric. The melody is even heart-warming. The progression is good and there are nice touches of piano and thunder to spice up the song. In fact “Dogma” should be in the manual of how to make a melodic Gothic track. Similar qualities reappear throughout the work and again “Ich Trinke Blut” (I Drink Blood) sounds happy and catchy while throwing us off the scent by being orchestral and militaristic. “Mordlust” (Death Wish) is heavy and dark but manages to be rousing thanks to its motion-filled and rapid fire rhythm and delivery.
It’s not all cheery stuff, if indeed Mordlust/Death wish can ever be considered cheery. There are many dark moments. “Mein Herz in Ihren Händen” (My Heart in Your Hands) and “Busssakrament” in particular display more of the Gothic side. The fleeting sound of church organs and interesting electro work industrial work add to the feel. Above all, each track has a solid beat and a seemingly statutory Teutonic orderliness about it. At least it’s worked in different ways. “Macht” (Power) has an air of mystery, while “Schritte” (Steps) is gloomy and dark before bursting out, and “Der Weg ist das Ziel” (The Way is the Goal) has the makings of an epic track. “Der Weg ist das Ziel” is particularly interesting as its punchy beat combines with a catchy progression. At one point we hear we hear the light drumming of a children’s marching band, yet by contrast I half expected a militaristic “eins, zwei, drei, vier” at the end of the chorus line. There is most certainly a sinister element and similarity to Rammstein, notably on “Eiskönigin” (Ice Queen) and Rache (Revenge). The whispered vocals and heavy rhythm are disturbingly similar in fact, to the extent of the usage of the almost accusatory “du bist” as an alternative to Rammstein’s “du hast” at one point. The creepy and logically spiteful “Rache” also seems to be taken directly from a Rammstein template. It is effective but not original.
For all its edginess and interesting additions, Nachtblut are on safe ground with this album. What I heard was solid heavy Gothic rhythms rather than spectacular incursions into new territory. I liked “Dogma” though. It is strong on image and catchy songs, but in the final outcome solidity wins over inspiration or innovation.
(6 / 10 Andrew Doherty)