Friday, August 17, 2012

Nachtmystium: Silencing Machine (2012)

Welcome Home (Nachtmystium)

The story of prominent metal bands drifting away from the genre is a familiar one. I've covered quite a few of them in these "pages." These bands tend to be prominent because of the risks they've taken, and their attitude toward expanding horizons. Inevitably, it seems, this leads to the abandonment of metal. Nachtmystium is one such band. With the Black Meddle albums, they consciously, openly, and defiantly toyed with the limits of black metal. In Assassins, they superbly explored psychedelia. In Addicts, they explored their industrial side. With each, they strayed further away from metal.

Now, in a move almost never seen, they've reversed course. Silencing Machine is more black metal than either of their two previous releases. Don't take that to mean they've gone "kvlt," "troo," or "necro," however, as the lessons they've learned have been carried on.

Opener "Dawn over the Ruins of Jerusalem" continues the band's habit of opening with the most straight-forward black metal track of the bunch. Beyond that, every song could still be considered black metal ("Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams" stretches that), yet not perfectly so. Industrial is a constant influence, if not in the writing then in many of the production techniques. The drumming typically remains in an industrial metal style, and "Decimation, Annihilation" sounds as much Ministry/Static-X as it does Nachtmystium. The psychedelia is also a strong presence, especially on "And I Control You," which could have appeared on Assassins.

Checking the "industrial" and "psychedelic" boxes off the list is not the only way to tell this is a Nachtmystium record. Hooks are present throughout, as in the last two records. The band is also clearly unable to fully restrain their wandering, because "Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams" is a full-on alt-rock excursion, while "I Wait in Hell" has solos that could be from fellow Illinois band Dawnbringer.

It seems as if their experiments have paid off. They've made what could be the definitive Nachtmystium album. It isn't their best (it would be tough to top Assassins), but it is their most representative. Now if only we could convince a few others to come back to metal.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy Silencing Machine


  1. I know it borders on heresy, but I actually like this one better than Assassins/Addicts.

  2. I don't think that's heresy. I think there will be a lot of people who feel that way, since this is more black metal. There will be a lot of people who like Instinct: Decay the best, too.

    In fact, that's the way you can tell Nachtmystium is such a great band. You can easily see why anyone would call any one of those albums their best.