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Nachtmystium - "Silencing Machine" (CD)

Nachtmystium - "Silencing Machine" CD cover image

"Silencing Machine" track listing:

1. Dawn Over the Ruins of Jerusalem (4:28)
2. Silencing Machine (6:26)
3. And I Control You (6:14)
4. The Lepers of Destitution (8:29)
5. Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams (5:09)
6. I Wait in Hell (5:45)
7. Decimation, Annihilation (4:54)
8. Reduced to Ashes (5:07)
9. Give Me the Grave (5:29)
10. These Rooms in Which We Weep (7:37)

Reviewed by on August 19, 2012

"Although the old school production leaves something to be desired, Nachtmystium’s continuation along the path of melding black metal with psychedelic industrial sounds results in another solid full-length entry."

Two years after “Addicts: Black Meddle Part II,” the destructive machine that is Nachtmystium is back with more non-traditional extreme music to push boundaries and piss off the elitists. Although the old school production leaves something to be desired, Nachtmystium’s continuation along the path of melding black metal with psychedelic industrial sounds results in another solid full-length entry.

Press releases and teasers released before the album made it seem like “Silencing Machine” was supposed to drop all the synth elements, but opening track “Dawn Over the Ruins of Jerusalem” immediately starts with the industrial tones. Symphonic and electronic elements are found in pretty much every track, so while the tone may have changed a bit from the last album, Nachtmystium is still in familiar territory.

Front man Blake Judd may have made a point of calling this album “a fucking black metal record,” but that’s actually not exactly true. “I Wait in Hell” may be the only straight frozen black metal track, with its creepy voiceover and ‘90s style Norwegian inspired riffage, but even that song doesn’t stay traditional the whole way through. The melodic, repeating guitar tones on “Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams,” along with the traditional metal riffing at the end of the track, is light years away from black metal, and the song again has its share of psychedelic sounds.

The entire album is consistently abrasive and brutal, even with all the trance and atmospheric elements, but like the Samael album “Above,” this actually becomes a negative after a while due to the production. The vocals are mixed at the exact same level as the guitars, and there’s no variation in the vocal delivery whatsoever, so everything blends together. Segments of the album end up sounding the same, even when there are clear differences just under the surface. This muddled production should be nothing new for Nachtmystium devotees, but newcomers need to know ahead of time that the sound quality is fuzzy and everything is frequently blurred together. It’s clearly a purposeful move though, as there are songs like the title track where the bass roars out of the background and suddenly comes through crystal clear. In fact, in several songs the bass is much more audible than either the vocals or the guitars.

“Silencing Machine” is unquestionably a solid album with a lot to offer, but listening through several times, it seems like the finished package could have had a bigger impact if all the instruments sounded more clear. The release is well worth any black metal or avant-garde fan’s time, but only for those who have a good pair of headphones and the time required to really listen through carefully.

Highs: Abrasive black metal collides with industrial and psychedelic sounds.

Lows: The purposefully old school production makes the music blend together too much.

Bottom line: Nachtmystium again mixes up harsh and extreme blackened metal with industrial and electronic themes.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)