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Blake Judd has never been concerned with making music that makes an audience feel safe. Conforming to genre tags that imply structure and design undermine what music should be about. His ‘Black Meddle’ works, despite marking a departure in terms of sound for the band – and proving problematic for audiences wanting/expecting ‘Instinct: Decay’ part two – were highly acclaimed, and deservedly so. Judd’s experimental approach to music and his confrontational approach to audience expectations have proved to bear much fruit. And so for ‘Silencing Machine’, Judd’s assertion that ‘Silencing Machine’ is “a fuckin’ black metal record” doesn’t mean that it resembles what you may think that evil moniker denotes. Confrontation and annihilation underpin this record, yes, but there’s much more to it.

Sonically, structurally, dynamically, texturally, this is an altogether more evolved demon of darkness. The combination of hammering drums with swirling synths and electronica give the title track an industrial and psychedelic feel. Where the deep, crushing rhythms of ‘And I Control You’ are devastating, the melodies of ‘The Lepers of Destitution’ are melancholic, almost optimistic. ‘Reduced To Ashes’ is the one track that could be considered closest to “black metal”, it’s wall-of-fire riffs, unremitting drumming and savage vocals augmented by Parker’s melodic and atmospheric synth. That Judd has been working with his band with everyone contributing is more than apparent. All of the instruments, the vocals included, are working together to fortify the album’s impact. Sanford Parker’s synths and electronic textures flesh the album out with atmospheres that give the tracks a deeper dimension without sounding like an afterthought. Also, the lead work abandons the temptation to shred and so comes to function as part of the whole rather than providing largely superfluous flurries of raging wrath. Every aspect of this album feels as if it has been given time to gestate under the nurturing care of its creators. If confrontation and challenge are black metal’s driving force then yes, Judd and co. certainly have made a black metal record. But this is something much bigger and much better.
Century Media
Review by Jason Guest
30th July 2012
1) Dawn Over the Ruins of Jerusalem
2) Silencing Machine
3) And I Control You
4) The Lepers of Destitution
5) Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams
6) I Wait in Hell
7) Decimation, Annihilation
8) Reduced to Ashes
9) Give Me the Grave
10) These Rooms in Which We Weep
"Sonically, structurally, dynamically, texturally, this is an altogether more evolved demon of darkness."