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Album Review: NACHTMYSTIUM Silencing Machine

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I got so much grief from people…about “not being black a metal band.” And I’m not proclaiming to be. But it’s part of our history and we can play pretty good fucking black metal songs.

-Blake Judd, 2010 Interview

As the genre has grown and evolved, Black Metal has shown itself to be very versatile. As a form of metal, it blends brilliantly with Death Metal, Industrial, and several other forms of heavy music. While many readers will be familiar with the "Black n' Roll" style that's become popular over the last few years, Nachtmystium has made a reputation of their own as a band that blends psychedelic and classic hard rock with the cold, dark forest of the Black Metal sound. As frontman Blake Judd has acknowledged, this has caused them some trouble among some stuck-up elitists who do not appreciate the idea of the band having its characteristic sound. If this message board Gestapo had its way, Nachtmystium would stop everything and become a Weakling or Leviathan copycat band like all "TRVE USBM" bands are apparently supposed to be. With their 2012 release, Silencing Machine, the band seems to make the statement that: "Okay, so you want a straightforward Black Metal record? Fine, but its going to be on our terms."

Silencing Machine begins with the double-barrel burst of grim Black Metal fury with Dawn Over the Ruins of Jerusalem and the punishing title track. Solid as these tracks are, its is after these tracks that the album gets much more interesting. The plodding and eerie landscape of And I Control You almost sounds like a modern-day Seasons in the Abyss. Other highlights include the riff-laden Borrowed Hopes and Broken Dreams and the glorious and powerful I Wait in Hell. Possibly the most entrancing song on the album, I Wait in Hell has an atmosphere that both envelopes and attacks the listener, "You wait forever…I wait in Hell!" One also cannot ignore the catchy hard-rock bounce and sweet guitar soloing of Give Me the Grave (featuring some more clever lyrics like "Take the poison, break the spell"). Judd's vocals are particularly ferocious, fired out of his vocal chords with a fitting layer of static and distortion. While the production, particularly on the guitars, has a familiar Black Metal feel to it, the album has a least some shine that prevents it from having the excessive crudeness of other BM releases.

Silencing Machine can serve many purposes, both for the listener looking for a good dose of Black Metal, or one who wants to hear a band take the style and mix a few other elements in- without going as far as Nachtmystium usually does.

8 out of 10

Favorite songs: And I Control, Borrowed Hopes and Broken Dreams, I Wait in Hell, and Give Me the Grave

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