Review Summary: Thurston Moore joins Nachtmystium mastermind Blake Judd in more ways than one
It’s been a rather eventful month for sole, permanent member of Nachtmystium, Blake Judd. Besides gaining a new, fellow Twilight
member in Thurston Moore, we see the release of what stands to be Judd’s most attention-garnering release yet, Silencing Machine
. Nachtmystium’s architect has cited a number of diverse influences in the past, but this stood to be different, he told us-- a more direct release set in the black metal timeline. Similarly, most reactions to the album have hailed it as Nachtmystium’s “return to old school black metal” album, eschewing crediting Judd for a release with more shades than simply black. It’s an easy connection to make, especially considering the obvious cornerstones here.
The opener “Dawn Over The Ruins Of Jerusalem,” complete with a nod to religious disintegration, is Nachtmystium at its most orthodox. It sets the tone for a release enthused with gruff vocals and gritty production (though neither of these ever reach very extreme levels) in a setting where the songs are always heralded back in with hooks and a surprisingly hefty dose of melody. “Decimation, Annihilation” and “Reduced To Ashes” display this perfectly, with keyboards and synth to add flavor to the catchiness. As one-minded as some accuse Silencing Machine to be, it certainly runs the gamut within this cohesive psyche. Look no further than “Borrowed Hopes And Broken Dreams” which is styled more towards the post-punk spectrum, aspects of which incur 80’s post-punk platitudes a la The Cure or Sonic Youth. While these aren’t necessarily attributes that disqualify it from the “orthodox black metal” tag, they do add more, welcome dimensions to Silencing Machine
-- without which we would have quite a bland album. Even after this, it’s hard to discern, quality-wise, where Nachtmystium’s latest fits on the spectrum.
The release is one where Judd has very much reigned in any sort of stylistic excess hanging off the last records and the it has a much more cohesive feel because of it. That being said, Silencing Machine
is undoubtedly a bit overlong. Highlights like the compelling, 8-minute “The Lepers of Destitution” are furrowed in the background amidst equally-gigantic tracks instead of pushed to the forefront where it belongs. Aspects like this only further the notion that, as solid as this release is (I wouldn’t venture much further than solid
in either direction) it’s not one aiming to garner Nachtmystium many new acclaims. This isn’t to say that it’s essentially a safe release, but there’s simply a multitude of black metal being released far more raw and unorthodox than this, and there’s a sect of metal much more accessible and immediate, as well. This is the middle ground. And so, we’re left with Silencing Machine
: a nice addition to Nachtmystium’s and Judd’s impressive discographies, but not much more.