Nachtmystium - Silencing Machine
Record Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: July 30, 2012
Silencing Machine is a real perplexing record to me. At first glance it has all the hallmarks of honest metal—lo-rent horror cover art dripping in cheese, check; bizarro “satanic” band logo complete with requisite pentagram, check. But then you put your headphones on and it just doesn’t deliver what you’re looking for? Like, not really?
I listen to a lot of post-metal and Japanese metal, the drone and the fuzz-art stuff that Boris is really the best example of to have made our shores. And I get a lot of shit from real metalheads over this. This is true also of the metalcore and post-hardcore bands like Underoath, Thrice, and their ilk. Everybody listens to those bands on AP.net but in “real life” I find metal kids look down on that music.
So when I get a “real” metal record to review, forgive me for wanting it to fucking scare me! Because all those metalheads that seem less than enamoured with what I consider “metal” sure were psyched for this bad boy to drop. And I think, “Awesome, this must be the real deal.” And I want to feel like I did when I was in grade nine and I brought home The Downward Spiral for the first time: scared shitless, like I was harbouring some haunted object in my home, like with great power, came great responsibility.
Maybe it’s that I’m not in grade nine anymore but consider this a huge “meh”-elicitor on my end.
Some of the tracks, like “Reduced to Ashes” and “These Rooms In Which We Weep,” seem to have more of OK Computer than of Downward Spiral about them. And then there are blatant concessions towards commercialism buried in there, nuggets like “Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams” and “Give Me The Grave” that feature, like, actual chords and can evoke images of My Chemical Romance… to my ear, a pretty substantially toned-down My Chemical Romance.
But… I really shouldn’t take out my frustration with metal on one metal band. There’s decent shit here, notably the closer, “Ashes to Ashes,” which is really more my speed (eight minutes long, check; monotone screaming for most vocal delivery, check; atmospheric guitar backed by relentless double kick, check). I just wish it was heavier. Despite the Radiohead comparison, it just altogether too much like this music was made by humans, not demons.
And isn’t that what bands with skull album covers should be striving for?