30 July 2012
by David Keevill
Nachtmystium have always been an interesting beast, because whilst they’re yet to release something truly groundbreaking (although Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. 2 came pretty close), they have pushed the genre into experimental, confusing territories and have shown themselves to be keen on growing, rather than recycling, black metal’s increasingly plagiarised bedrock sounds. Does Silencing Machine reap the rewards of their experimentalism?
Well, yes and no. It’s important to note that Silencing Machine has grown little from previous releases; the production remains gritty and hoarse and the sound is still an amalgam of dense, atmospheric smog and relentless, grinding riffs. The melodies that erupt from a combination of Blake Judd’s harsh, guttural roars and the repetitive, immersive segments make songs like ‘The Lepers of Destitution’ surprisingly accessible.
Yet the feelings of claustrophobia and disorientation, as captured on the pounding title track, start to fall apart as the album pedals a very repetitive musical fare at you across the course of its ten tracks. The album opener, ‘Dawn Over the Ruins of Jerusalem’ promises so much with its driven, thunderous pace, but then the momentum drops away under the pressure of following through with an album of similar energy. Instead the midway point of ‘Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams’ feels a little dirgy and out of ideas, leaving the rest of the album to try and resurrect the hopes of excitement found in its first half; hopes that are never quite recaptured.
Watch Nachtmystium’s studio diary of the recording of Silencing Machine:
The kernel of originality found at the centre of Nachtmystium’s sixth studio LP is what makes Silencing Machine all the more disappointing. Not only is it an indicator of what there is to be found in the midst of the swirling, groaning mass of this psychedelic black-metal shtick, but it’s also a huge demonstration of how this band have come to rely on a sound, rather than advance it; this is an album that, for all its grisly production and sound, has a bright sheen of complacency.
Sounds Like: A relentless but ultimately flaccid follow-up.
Standout tracks: The Lepers of Destitution.