Monday, August 20, 2012

Class of 2012: Nachtmystium - Silencing Machine

After experimenting a bit with the Black Meddle series, Nachtmystium has returned to a more black metal sound.  And by simply glancing at the song titles ("The Lepers of Destitution," "Decimation, Annihilation," "Give Me the Grave," etc.), it's easy to see where Blake Judd and company are going with this one.  In an interview with emusic's Jon Wiederhorn, Judd explained, "A lot of it is about overcoming my addiction to drugs, which I finally did before we did the album."

 Album opener "Dawn Over the Ruins of Jerusalem," with its industrial-tinged vocals, sets the tone for what's to come.  Next is the title track, and by the time its chorus comes around, don't be surprised if you're singing along.  The tempo slow a bit on the next two songs, "And I Control You" and "The Lepers of Destitution."  The former features great, pulsing drumming (the drums are great throughout), and the latter has a bit of a Brian Jonestown Massacre "(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six" vibe to it (especially at the beginning).  Furthermore, there's a brief point in "Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams" that brings to mind Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus."

While the second half of Silencing Machine isn't as memorable as the first half, it's still very solid.  If you're paying attention during "Reduced to Ashes," you should hear a Kid A moment that surprisingly fits right in.  The album closes with the slowed-down "These Rooms In Which We Weep," which has a great final-track feel to it.

Silencing Machine is a welcome return to form for Nachtmystium.  It's dark, industrial, tormented, and at times catchy.  Blake Judd seems to be in a good place, and I look forward to hearing what his side project Twilight puts out next.

Grade: B  (85.7%)

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