Nachtmystium: "Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams"


By P.M. Goerner | 7 August 2012

Say what you will of the band’s credibility as modern heralds of American black metal’s horizons, but there’s one thing I’m pretty sure can be agreed: Nachtmystium’s Blake Judd should be giving singing lessons. Absurd as it may sound, all we really need to do is put a pointy sign out by the pachysandra that says something like “Throathell School of Auditory Destruction,” and no one will be able to argue that dude deserves tenure. There’s something really surprising, and at first a little suspicious, about how well Judd enunciates his lyrics while still able to maintain a thoroughly brutal glass-on-asphalt tone on “Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams,” but somehow the extra alloy required to cover both sides of that coin doesn’t deplete the thoroughly well-equipped Nachtmystium foundry. It’s a pretty fantastic performance that somehow seems to be two places at once really well.

On this cut from the band’s new LP, Silencing Machine, Judd and his cohorts have made it clear that not only do they get to have it both ways, they’re gunning for a few more surprises to squeeze in for good measure while they’re at it. Some noise was certainly made over the genre-twisting experiments of the band’s previous releases, but “Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams” paints Nachtmystium as a band getting back to basics while still effectively conjuring an effort to move forward in more personal, immaterial ways. With it’s relative clarity, punk-ish riffing, and driving rock ‘n’ roll rhythm, the track seems to build strongly on a particular of-the-moment trend, that of great heavy bands making some very hard-earned, and surprisingly agreeable, headway into paradigm-wrecking accessibility.

If only in that sense, I can’t help but compare the dynamic direction on display here to Baroness’ recent conversation-starter Yellow & Green, which has made a lot of waves with some similar sensibilities, but in comparison leaves a lot more behind in search of fertile ground. Instead, Nachtmystium claim a relatively unique victory in finding new ethereal planes to tread without actually taking up any new residence in the physical. Where Yellow & Green took me at least a few spins to wholly accept, and a few more to enjoy quite a bit as I do now, “Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams” confers that entire experience in the length of a single song. “I have escaped,” Judd growls as the band’s carbon-crusted engine revs into full gear, but it’s no question that he’s not talking about a physical enclosure. Nachtmystium may have just finally loosed themselves from the nagging expectations of this bleak, shallow mortal realm.