Genre: sludge doom
Dutch Nachtvorst may well originate from the black metal scene, but on Silence black metal only features as an ingredient in the overall sound, which is much more directed towards the bleakness and oppression of doom and sludge metal than towards the chaos and evil of black metal.
The first track 'The Serpent's Tongue' opens with a crushingly heavy doom-laden riff, and for the next six and a half minutes, the listener is treated to heavy, chucking, doomy riffs accompanied by growled and screechy vocals. This is followed by a nice atmospheric section with piano effects and clean guitars, before the chucking doom riffs kick in again. The song is concluded with another atmospheric section which transitions into the dark and melancholic quasi-symphonic instrumental 'After...'. 'Nightwinds' adds a sludgy touch with its aggressive opening riff and slightly hardcore-ish edge, but after three minutes the tempo is lowered and things slowly build up towards a heavy black-doom section. The atmospheric and 'Gentle Notice of a Final Breath' has an almost post-metal feel to it. '...Before' is another atmospheric instrumental piece, and 'A Way of Silence' concludes the album majestically in a shroud of introvert darkness and shoegazing doom.
Apart from screechy vocals and dissonant harmonies every now and then, the most prevalent black metal feature on Silence is Nacthvorst's use of repetition, and, while repetition can end up generating boredom-inspiring monotony, Nachtvorst have mastered the power of repetition. They use it very efficiently, generating a sense of bleakness and oppression, but at no point do the tunes on this album get boring (which is quite a feat since the songs are actually quite long).
The production is actually quite good, and there really is a lot of bottom on the bass and guitars, giving the album an extra punch towards heaviness, while the drums have a well-defined sound allowing you to hear every single beat.
Fans of doom metal and depressive black metal are likely to find this work of darkness and oppression to be a very enjoyable album, and perhaps fans of atmospheric black metal, sludge metal and post-metal will take a liking to Silence as well because of the many elements deriving from those genres.
(review originally posted on seaoftranquility.org)