Within about 15 seconds of the first track from ‘Silence’, ‘The Serpent’s Tongue’, I was actually starting to feel a bit bored already. Within the first few minutes, I’d already started to regret my initial analysis of the song. It might not be the most obvious song to open an album with but it does give a strong message about Nachtvorst’s music; namely that they’re in no rush to make their point musically and they’re more concerned with progression and building songs up slowly but surely and it does work for them. ‘The Serpent’s Tongue’ in particular is a brilliant example of how experimental black metal can be done well but at over 11 minutes long it’s not the sort of thing you can easily dip into.
The next “proper” track (there’s ‘After…’ but that’s more of a musical interlude than anything, although it’s quite nicely done), ‘Nightwinds’, does sort of sound a bit hollow compared to the opening track as there seems to be less going on overall and just comes across like a weak black metal track for the most part. There’s a brief section around the 3:30 mark where the band start to add a bit of progression but it does sound a bit forced and repetitive.
‘Gentle Notice of a Final Breath’ packs a bit more punch, immediately combining slow, progressive guitar riffs with gravely but not forced black metal vocals. There are some nice moments towards the end of the track but, unfortunately, after the first few minutes it doesn’t really go anywhere and at one point almost grinds to a halt completely. There’s just a sense that they didn’t really think it through and got stuck in some sort of progressive loop and weren’t sure how to get out of it. It’s very nice and pretty easy to listen to but there’s nothing magical or mind-blowing that makes you want to listen to it again, unless you happen to be suffering from insomnia.
After another bit of pleasant filler in the form of ‘…before’ (see what they did there?), the album comes to a close with ‘A Way of Silence’. It’s got a bit more nous to it than ‘Gentle Notice of a Final Breath’ that makes it much more enjoyable overall. There is always the feeling that it’s leading somewhere and not just a rambling, aimless piece of music. It probably has the most powerful and effective use of vocals; both clean and growls.
With moments of almost genius-like brilliance combined with some unnecessary and aimless bits of music, it’s a bit difficult to know how to rate this as a work overall. If the majority of the middle section of the album was cut out it’d be a much stronger, yet shorter, effort overall. There’s certainly potential here for an outstandingly good band but ‘Silence’ just falls a little short of the mark in terms of diversity and imagination.
Review by Siân Williams
14th May 2012
1) The Serpent's Tongue
4) Gentle Notice of a Final Breath
6) A Way of Silence
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...‘Silence’ just falls a little short of the mark in terms of diversity and imagination."