Silencing Machine, Nachtmystium’s sixth full-length album, re-embraces the traditional Norwegian black-metal sound of its early efforts. The band’s first recordings were Darkthrone covers at heart, but by the time of Instinct: Decay in 2006, it had traded minimalism for riff salads and more textured songs. The Black Meddle series, consisting of Assassins (2008) and Addicts (2010), was purposefully experimental, drawing comparisons to Pink Floyd and Ministry.
Now Nachtmystium takes the lessons learned from experimentation and applies them to the conventional black-metal language of moveable minor chords and tremolo picking.
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Chris Connelly, formerly a member of industrial bands Ministry and Revolting Cocks, is set to release his 15th solo album in November. Entitled Artificial Madness, the record is guitar-driven rock that wears its contrasting pop and post-punk influences proudly. A month before its scheduled release, Connelly took some time to run through each song, explaining lyrical content and narrative themes.
Track-by-Track Breakdown of Artificial Madness by Chris Connelly
Here is a breakdown to the lyrics on Artificial Madness. I’ve never really done this before. It’s always been my intention to leave a lot of things ambivalent, giving the listener a few red herrings here and there. Perhaps I’ll leave some stuff buried in there…
1. “Artificial Madness” The protagonist is not really a person — more of a collective consciousness built from panic and paranoia. The city and landscape are fabricated, and all the aggressors or distractions are metaphors. Here we have the crux of the album: the “artificial madness” brought on by the deity that is technology. It can be used to enslave parts of our minds, conscious or subconscious, and it can also serve as a control tactic and a mind-numbing drug. Why do we feel the need to talk and keep in touch with each other so much? Because we are panicking and fearing some sort of apocalypse? I recently read that the Taliban turned off all cell-phone communication at 8 PM in an urban area that they had control over. Control and fascism — always at work.
2. “Wait for Amateur” The emperor’s new clothes. A satirical song about modern pop culture using modern theater (namely Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot). Can you tell if the play is being superbly or horribly acted? Are the actors playing us? Taking us for a ride? Is the director making fools of the actors? (Make a mark in the ground with a primitive tool.)
3. “Classically Wounded” A high-speed chase on a wet night, and a violinist is ultimately impaled on his/her own violin bow. A cautionary tale.
4. “Cold Blood in Present Company” War being waged via technology, misinformation, independent contractors (mercenaries), and the torture of innocents to glean information that will result in the deaths of thousands. Like I said earlier, fascism is very good at adapting to the times.
Producer/multi-instrumentalist Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried at Sea) and saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) have long and assorted ties in and around Chicago, where the two reside and contribute to the city’s vibrant underground.
Parker, in addition to his main gig in Minsk, has produced the likes of Pelican, Rwake, Unearthly Trance, Jai Alai Savant, Lair of the Minotaur, and Nachtmystium, and Lamont, outside of Yakuza, recently finished recording a solo album and regularly plays with other experimental metal and noise outfits (Decayist, Sick Gazelle) as well as improvised-jazz players (Jeff Parker, Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis).
Each man’s résumé is a mile long, and now the two have come together to pay tribute to Chicago’s late-’80s and early-’90s Wax Trax! industrial scene with their new project, Circle of Animals. A diverse and widely recognizable cast of drummers rounds out the lineup on this release, with names like Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste), John Herndon (Tortoise), John Merryman (Cephalic Carnage), and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) lending their talents.
After releasing music under names such as Foetus, Manorexia, and Steroid Maximus, composer/producer J.G. Thirlwell only recently has released under his own name — while maintaining his distinctive genre-mashing concoctions.