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Album Review: Nachtmystium - Silencing Machine

7 August 2012 | 11:34 am | Tom Hersey

Definitely some of the most powerful extreme music you’ll hear this year.

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In recent years, the pervasive trend within the USBM (United States black metal if you're not up on your sub-sub-genre acronyms) scene is to take black metal and throw it together with drone and doom influences. Against a backdrop of this slow, meditative black metal, Silencing Machine stands out like a game changer – ten tracks of bleak, unrelenting, extreme music of the highest calibre. Instead of drawing on a host of slower influences, Chicago's Nachtmystium have sped things up, reduced the production value and turned to the work of gritty post-punk outfits like Killing Joke and Throbbing Gristle for inspiration.

Though they might seem worlds apart, black metal and post-punk are two genres with more similarities than differences. Both are bleak in sound, dystopic in outlook and unflinchingly caustic. In fact, the two genres fit together real nice on Silencing Machine. Spaghetti. Meatballs. Gin. Juice. There's a natural congruency at play in the charred buzz of Sanford Parker's synths and the tremolo-picked riff terror of Blake Judd and Drew Markuszewski, just as frontman Judd's tortured howls find their counter-point against Charlie Fell's inventive drum tracks.

Following the rampant experimentalism that defined their last two full-length efforts, Silencing Machine is bolstered by Nachtmystium's decision to stay within the confines of this black metal/post-punk aesthetic for its entirety. The singularity of vision makes the record harrowingly monotonous, recalling some of the Norwegian BM staples in ethos rather than sound. When Nachtmystium hit album standouts like The Lepers Of Destitution, Borrowed Hope And Broken Dreams and I Wait In Hell, they create something artless and raw; definitely some of the most powerful extreme music you'll hear this year.