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I have listened to this album under three different circumstances.
First, the day when I picked it up and was in a rather average mood: I liked the album, didn't strike me as something special and I kept it aside.
Second, one day when I was in a great mood: I hated the album
Third, I was caught in too much gloom and was listening to my DSBM catalogue: I loved the album. Welcome, Silencer.
Since that day and until now, I have probably listened to that album from beginning to end more than a few hundred times and it genuinely provides a peek to those unexplored fringes of the mind and leaves you disturbed. No, you don't need to know the alleged notoriety surrounding Nattramn to appreciate the album. In fact, I think there are far superior component to this album than his vocals alone, which black metal fans either seem to love or hate. That's also one more thing I fail to understand. Several people have dismissed this classic album just on the basis of Nattramn's voice and invented glorious epithets for vocal range, such as 'pig squeals', 'dying cat', etc. Wake up, it's DSBM. What did you expect? Celine Dion?
Now coming to the music, it's really the first two songs which seals the deal. Not to say that that the remaining songs are fillers, just that the first two songs can basically bid a fuck-off to all DSBM songs ever made. The first song, called Death-Pierce Me after the album title itself, starts with a slow rather melodic intro. The first thought that comes to your mind in those first few seconds is "It is one of those albums - sweet short intro - screams and blast beats - next song." No, not until you've heard Nattramn's voice, and it will stick to your head for the rest of your wretched life. The musicianship on the first song is exceptional as well with several highs and lows, beautiful solos, followed by guttural screeches till it culminates to a fantastic end. The second song, "Sterile Nails and Thuderbowels," is arguably the best song of the album. If bands could just sell a portion of the guitar riffs from their songs, the one in this song after the lyrics "Crushed skulls tasting the fur of dying cats" would easily sell for a million dollars. It is also this song which underlines the superior musicianship of Leere. Hands down, if not for Leere, this album would not have gone down in the history as a DSBM classic. You can't make a clasic with just Nattramn's screeches, you need the whole atmosphere which Leere provides.
Overall I feel that the song "Taklamakan" is a relatively overrated track in this album and people seem to pay more attention to this one because purportedly Nattramn was cutting himself and gagging while recording. You can hear some of those vocal effects towards the end of this song, however musically it doesn't add quite a whole lot to the album. But sure enough, Nattramns voice is especially unique in this song than some of the rest. Songs like these make me wonder how many re-takes did it take to finalize each track of this album, because Nattramn's singing style doesn't seem to be reproducible for re-takes. There's often no structure, and a lot of pain and I am unsure if those same emotions can be reproduced if he had to sing the same song twice. Once again, it is amidst these wails of screams, howls, and guttural screeches that Leere's music ties everything together into one solid entity. Lyrically, the entire entire album speaks of Nattramn's literary genius, especially the track "I Shall Lead, You Shall Follow". In terms of pace, this is the fastest too with a speedy intro which stays until almost the end when Nattramn's voice seemingly breaks into tears and says:
"Convert my ashes,
Rebuild me in the spiral world
My only solution
Is the cosmic conclusion."
Thank you, Nattramn. Each one of us have felt like this miserable at least once in our life. The album ends with "Feeble are you - Sons of Sion" which is an instrumental track and carries with it the perfect sense of calm after there's actually nothing left to destroy, all is dead and gone and so must you. All in all, this is an essential DSBM album. However, listen with caution and keep sharp objects away from reach.
This is such a tortured, choatic and depressingly blissful album that stands alone. There is not a better album out there that can evoke painful, uncontrollable and unstanable emotions such as this. It is at the very peak of suspenseful, gloomy and blackened metal albums out there. In my opinion this feels like a 10 out of 10. This was a unique experience as I was taken on a dark journey through abandoned asylums filled with forgotten and tortured screams from past and eerie events. The mood and atmosphere of this album was shadowy, bleak and eerie with somehow the dimmest light at the end of the tunnel. Although the album had the focus to stay at rock bottom in terms of joyful emotions, some songs felt as though there was the tiniest glimpse of hope to be found.
There are many mysteries behind the makings of this album and of the signer himself Nattramn, which ups the creepy factor. The only album Silencer ever made stands as one of the greatest and influencial achievements in the Depressive and Suicidal black metal realm. The dark and soulless ambience significantly adds to the depressive and suicidal mood. Musically speaking, the album is particularly well executed and the production is spot on. While Nattramn's vocals sound like a screeching cat, his presence can be felt everywhere at once and that he is screaming behind the listener. Leere's bass playing and guitar playing is very thematic and ominous especially on the track Taklamakan. Also Steve Wolz displays some very tight and precise drumming.
As a whole, this album is a must listen for any metal fan at anytime. However beware, there are many scary and disturbing moments on this album such as Nattramn's random screams in the opening track 'Death, Pierce Me' to his vomiting sounds in Taklamakan. This album is unlike anything else out there. So much mystery is behind this work of art, that each listen become more and more different everytime. This album can be listen to at anytime of year, it can help one get through the bleak and cold winters or reflect and ponder through the long summers. There are more questions than answers on this album, but in fact none of these questions need to be answered, only headphones will do the trick and do this album justice. I could ramble on about how enthralling this album is, but its all about the listener to based their opinion on one of the deepest albums ever made.
The black metal scene is one with many stories surrounding it, from the killing of Euronymous at its very start, to the issues with Wrest raping his girlfriend with a tattoo gun, these stories can occasionally overshadow the music, drawing attention away from the very thing these artists set out to do. This may be the case with Silencer, a suicidal black metal band from Sweden. The tales and whispers surrounding front man Nattramn are so numerous and speculated; from the debate as to whether he has pig trotters for hand, to his apparent attempted murder of a girl and his suicide attempt afterwards, all this drawing your attention away from their only release, the masterpiece Death - Pierce Me.
On first listen one does not really know what to expect, for anyone who goes into this expecting something akin to any other depressive black metal album, such as those of Leviathan, Xasthur or Shining they will be shocked. This album is unlike anything anyone has ever heard before, from its soft keyboard sections, to its furious and brutal moments of pure black metal, to acoustic passages reminiscent of Agalloch this is a journey into the deepest, darkest and most haunting areas of the human psych that will leave listeners changed forever, its variety adds to the experience that this album is, throwing the listener back and forth as the band take you through their hellish landscape.
The instrumentation on this album is superb, guitarist Leere crafts an atmosphere of intense dark through the variety of different sounds he creates, from slow acoustic passages to intense tremolo in a heartbeat, all backed up by powerful drum work from Steve Wolz, from blast beats to rhythmic sections, its as varied as the guitar work, coming together to provide an intense wall of sound that draws the listener in, switching from instrumental passages that weave and flow harmoniously, to supporting the vocals in furious displays of rampant black metal, its all done with perfect precision. Other instruments take part in this gloomy sound scape, an example been the piano passage in the title track and synthesisers adding to the atmosphere been created.
The biggest factor in this album however is the vocals, the unique style performed by Nattramn here is one of tortured wails that make or break this album for the listener. For me they are the thing that makes this album perfect. The painful shrieks emanating from Nattramn are the very sound of someone in the fit of despair, the very sound of depression and the emotion that is poured into the noise created only makes it more powerful. Rumour says that he achieved this scream by harming himself in the studio, and listening to it you could very well believe it. The vocals are as varied as the instruments however, Nattramn switching from his wail, to simple black metal snarl and hoarse cries with ease, an example been on Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels. Lyrically this album is poetic, with the words howled by Nattramn deepening the emotional well that this album is. Far beyond the realms of the stereotypical depressive black metal lyrics, Nattramn adds depth, an example:
Bitten by infected jaws
Lurking with moulded eyes
Nodding in gallows
This is an absolute masterpiece of the suicidal black metal genre, and indeed of any black metal album, this album will draw any listener into its murky depths of sadness and throw them out at the end. Any fan of depressive black metal should give pick this up, they will be the better for it, whilst it won't be the most enjoyable experience, its one that should definitely be undertaken.
The legend has it that Mr. Nattramn mutilated himself while recording the vocals so as to ''channel'' his physical pain into ''inhuman'' screams, some even go as far as saying the guy cut his hands so much that by the time the vocal tracks were finished, his hands were hideously deformed and beyond recovery, so he amputated his own hands, replacing it with pig hands.
Now, the story is ridiculous and dumb, however, it's not as ridiculous as Nattramn's attempts at singing.
The instrumentation on this album is quite good, the production, while muddy and dirty, is clear enough to let all of the instruments be perfectly discernable from each other, Steve Wolz' drumming is actually quite good, ranging from crazed blast beats to slower, calmer parts which help to showcase Wolz' skills at drumming, his foot technique is also very solid, and helps boost the sound as a whole. Leere's handling of the guitar and bass is also excellent, while the riffs and the overall guitarwork may not be quite technical, he does a great job at writing some fucking cold and grim tremolo picked riffs that resemble traditional black metal instead of dsbm, the guy goes from slow to fast, then to superspeed and back to slow again, and all in the same song, Leere and Wolz' performances are what truly make this album stand out from most.
Nattramn vocals are amongst the worse in dsbm if not the worst in bm altogether, the guy does nothing but scream his lungs out for most of the album, when he isn't screaming stupidly, he's talking in this high-pitched voice which is extremely annoying, however, there are some occasions in which Nattramn actually changes his vocal style into a more usual and acceptable bm vocals, sadly, this moments are few and scarce.
The lyrics are... Nonsensical bullshit written by Nattramn, you can tell merely by readind the title of the second song, ''Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels'' I mean, what is that supposed to mean? What the fuck are thunderbowels? But the utter and insulting nonsense does not end there, the lyrics also speak about ''vast souls bitten by infected jaws'' and of ''crushed skulls tasting the fur of dying cats'', only the last moments of the song actually make some sort of sense, otherwise its just Nattyguy screaming senseless idiocy for over six minutes.
This has nothing ''depressive'' the music is excellent, yet sounds more like traditional Black Metal, the vocals are annoying and the lyrics are stupid, Austere, Forgotten Tomb, Happy Days and Bethlehem all do a much better job at depressive black metal than this guys could ever hope.
In short, if you want real, depressive black metal, look somewhere else, Silencer is only good because of the joint talent of Leere and Wolz', nothing else, if you're willing to listen over forty minutes of deranged and senseless screams, give it a try.
Silencer, as a band, has a huge backdrop and story behind their music. Personally and favorably, the music on this release is what counts while everything else has its place. However, the band themselves seem to have gained their credibility and recognition for some urban legend that their singer was put into a mental ward after this album. But that makes no excuse for what I'm about to say. Technically, I would have said this album is great, but in my personal opinion... the goddamned vocals literally ruin this entire thing. For real, it almost makes the band seem like a joke. If you were to take a Slayer album or an Opeth album and instead of their regular vocals, put a guy screeching his head off at as annoyingly he possibly can, would it still be good?
His vocals are an embarrassment to the extremity of the vocals fronting the extreme metal scene and I'm sure they can literally give some people headaches if listened to through headphones. What he does with his voice is almost in the same vein as if South Park were to poke fun at heavy metal vocals. Why in the fuck couldn't this guy just black metal scream like a normal vocalist? Besides this embarrassment of a performance, the guitar/bass work of Casado is surprisingly very decent. It's like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir meets Marduk. Not to mention the graceful piano pieces melt onto your ears like a beautiful caressing of a wax sculpture.
The drumming performance itself by Steve Wolz is also not bad either, nor are the tone of the drums themselves. They sound great and almost in the same category of Gene Hoglan and Louie Clemente's usual drum tone. It's clear that the instrumentation that they had here was very adventuristic and had a purist idea for what they wanted to go for while exploring their boundaries and leaving behind any 'comfort zone' that may have barricaded their creativity.
Disappointingly enough to say rather bluntly, Death - Pierce Me as a full-length opus could have been an AMAZING piece of work if it didn't have this asshole screeching like a retard on the entire record. His voice even sometimes pops up all of the sudden and scares the shit out of you such as in at least two times on the opening title cut. Thankfully, he sometimes spares your ears some mercy and at least varies this vocal style between other ones like the usual black metal rasp/scream style that will probably having you go "oh thank god" when he finally gives you ears a rest and an almost spoken-word kind of technique.
Unfortunately, other than this, it's not much to save when this screech is such a pain to hear throughout the entire record and is used as his main vocal style. Yes, Nattramn, we get you're "depressed", but even Lifelover - a band who's main influence comes from Silencer - have vocals that can sound reminiscent of this without making such a goddamned fool of yourself and utterly destroying an album. Also is he choking on some guy's cock or something at 6:25 on "Taklamakan"? That's actually what it sounds like. It almost makes me beg the question that do Swedes have some sort of far fetched idea for what being depressed or miserable sounds like or is it just the rest of the world that has a different idea for it?
I also want to point out that not only Lifelover were able to do this, but numerous beyond numerous DSBM projects themselves can pull off the sound of "tortured vocals" without making you sound like such an idiot. Take groups such as Through the Pain or Nocturnal Depression as an example of this. Regardless of what the reason may be for whatever was going through Nattramn's mind, the vocals sound absolutely absurd to the point where I'm yearning to question myself over and over on why in all of hell would he ruin something like this so badly.....
Think of it this way, the instrumentals on this album are like Disneyland, but the vocals are a gate keeping you away from getting into Disneyland and you want to get in so badly to have a good time and enjoy yourself, but you can't simply because there's a huge barrier in front of you keeping you from any potential enjoyment you could have had. My score for this release may be low, but it would have been much lower if the instrumentals weren't so well done while unfortunately being ruined by something that I don't need to speak of yet again.
I imagine, you, the reader have gotten the idea by now.... *sigh*.
At first listen, you would be right to consider turning off Silencer's Death Pierce Me within the space of four minutes. It is such a harrowing experience from cover to cover that unless you are well prepared, the suicidal black metal band could well induce the feelings in your head that they pour into their music. Death Pierce Me is neither an enjoyable experience nor an easy one to sit through, but stands out as a landmark Depressive Suicidal Black Metal release and one of the few that has achieved any form of attention within the extreme metal community. This is an album that is both highly recommended and not recommended at all-nobody should willingly enter the tortured landscapes depicted by this album, and yet it is an experience that carries so much weight and has such an impact that this is a near essential black metal release.
The sound of this album is a dark, murky and thoroughly depressing one. It will feel like such a long journey from the soft opening right through the various twists and turns of this release to its thrilling conclusion, purely for the fact that it is enough to reduce a grown man to tears. No matter what frame of mind you are in when you first listen to this, it should affect you if you are human, in similar ways that Agalloch's The Mantle should. This is a progressively oriented black metal album, that jumps from soft acoustic sections to the frenzy of tremolo picking and blast beats fast enough to cause epileptic fits. If you thought you were in for one hell of a ride, you were right.
The best and worst thing simultaneously about this release are the absolutely tortured vocals. The vocal work on this album is some of the most unique and difficult listening out there, with the vocalist sounding as though he is having razors jabbed into him and being struck with a red hot poker at the same time. He whines and screams his way through this album with so much emotion poured into his vocals and the lyrics that it is a wonder he didn't break down crying whilst recording it. He does not have a particularly wide range, primarily sticking to an overly tormented style of high pitched screaming, but he more than makes up for this in the actual sound of his voice. If you can listen to this without being affected mentally, then you are clearly more than a little unhinged already.
The instrumental work is absolutely top notch on this album, with the aforementioned "pure" black metal sections being handled masterfully with some superb blast beats and an evil sound created by the endless tremolo picking during these parts. However, it is the softer parts of the album that carry it forward better. The instrumental track Feeble Are You creates the most sinister and haunting atmosphere in existence, whilst the clean parts of the title track weave in keyboard work and organs to create a perfectly written song. Taklaman starts with a very cool sounding piece of drumming and fast bass work before the tremolo picking comes in and the vocalist starts shrieking and it could not work better as an introduction.
This is a masterpiece of depressive suicidal black metal that at times pushes the boundaries of what is actually listenable with its dark atmosphere and tortured vocal performance. The only real flaw with this album is that they perhaps took the depressive nature of their music too far, and created one of the most startling displays of emotion imaginable. The barren landscapes created by the instrumental work are perfectly complemented by the vocal performance with a decent enough production job to top it all off. This is a bloody amazing album that everyone should listen to at least once.
This was the first black metal album that I had ever heard. Back in early high school a friend of mine had told me about it. I cannot remember what he said, but I did decide to look it up. It must have been something about it being “totally fucked and really scary sounding”. Naturally I was curious to look this up and I remember listening to “Slow Kill in the Cold”. The death-like dirge of dark synth at the beginning creeped me out as it was, but when I first heard the howl of Nattramn, I’m pretty sure I quickly shut off the music. Now several years later and having listened to countless of black metal albums and it having become my favourite genre of metal, I can still say that this album is one of the most chilling and disturbing albums that I have heard in the genre.
I don’t care if you might think that Nattramn sounds like a dying cat, his vocals are still some of the most menacing and unsettling vocal performances I have ever heard. The extreme high- pitched wail you could say sounds slightly similar to Varg’s, but still is far more deranged- sounding. It actually sounds like the voice of a broken mind. Whether or not Nattramn was truly insane and killed a kid with an axe or whatever or whether he was even put in a mental institution is up for debate, but in all honesty I wouldn’t be surprised if it's true. An awesome thing about Nattramn as a vocalist is that he is actually rather good at both ends of the “black metal vocal range”. As I mentioned before, the highs are some of the craziest you will ever hear, but also the more typical black metal growls are impressive, such as on “Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels”. Perhaps most unsettling is the fact that he doesn’t just limit himself to “average” vocals. Several times throughout the album he will moan, cry, sob, and shriek to get the message across. Although sometimes sounding quite comedic, for a first time listener this music would definitely be unsettling.
Most people, when they talk about this album, only mention all the rumours about Nattramn and the vocals, but people seem to neglect the fact that this album has some incredible instrumentation. The drumming done by Steve Wolz is actually incredible and right on with the guitar work. It is extremely vicious. It doesn’t exactly have any unique tone or feel to it, but there is definitely a considerate amount of variation in the songs, especially some pretty cool drum fills. The guitar work is actually wonderful. Even to this day I think some of the riffs on this album are some of the most sinister and cold riffs in all of black metal. Riffs like the main riff from “Death Pierce-Me” and “I Shall Lead, You Shall Follow” are among the best on this album. Even the bass is somewhat prominent on the album with a very unexpected bass and drum intro to “Talklamakan”.
The overall atmosphere that is created by this album is one of a dark and very cold chamber of sorts. Or even an insane asylum. It definitely seems like a very fitting setting for this album to portray. Overall, all the parts of the album come together with no real large flaws and it is easy to see how this album has become a cult classic in the black metal genre, regardless of whatever notorious rumours have circulated about this band or not. I want to finish the review with one of my favourite lyric lines from this album:
“Beyond mind is sleep to be found”
This record by Silencer (their only full-length) has gone down as a cult legend. I would attribute this mostly to the vocals and to the rumors surrounding Nattramn (the vocalist). Often in black metal an album will gain cultural significance not because it is musically well made but because of external factors surrounding the band. I would argue that Mayhem might fit this description. There are some, like Burzum, that have both the external aspects drawing attention to them (Varg and the murder of Euronymous give him fame outside of even black metal circles) but it also stands out as masterpieces of black metal for the music.
I can understand that Silencer, to some, might have the same universal appeal. Both the external controversy and the music. I would say that musically the vocals outshine the rest in terms of “appeal.” The extreme falsetto brings the love/hate relationship right to the music. They are the one thing, the one aspect, on their album that stands out. The music itself isn't bad but it is overshadowed by the vocals. The music is slow and brooding before it explodes to a faster pace. The dynamic is effective and makes the album interesting even when Nattramn isn't singing.
While some may say that the vocals represent the singers angst or other such nonsense, I find it hard to use that logic to justify a singer that is so comical. That is the only way I can describe the vocals for this album: comical. Mostly this comes from the middle of the second track - “Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels” (a term my wife now uses to describe the night after wings at Hooters). When my wife, who dislikes black metal, heard me listening to this she laughed. The two things that I thought the singer sounded like when I heard the album was Gollum and Ned Flanders in the Simpsons when he screams. I'm pretty sure that is not what Nattramn intended.
Perhaps a lot of the record has to do with your place in life when listening to “Death – Pierce Me.” If you are depressed then maybe this music will speak to you, make you feel like somebody else understands what you're going through. To those of us who are not depressed and are looking for music that might have some actual artistic merit, this record does not fit the bill. If you are not depressed then the record sounds gimmicky, trying so hard to be depressing with the overdone lyrics and the over-the-top vocal style, that it is hard to look past it for anything else.
The album ends up being one of those records that people love or hate. This usually, no matter how you look at it, makes the record at least interesting. “Death – Pierce Me” is no doubt and interesting record because of the vocals. This is the deciding aspect because the music is not really anything revolutionary. Not bad, but its nothing special. Its the vocals that make the band stand out, giving them a distinct feel, and whether you enjoy Nattramn's style or not, you can't deny that the album is different than most because of him.
This is probably the most honest, the rawest and the most immense painfully metal album that I have ever listened to in my life. Never have I heard an artist who expressed himself so honestly and intensely as Silencer.
The album kicks off with a slow river of pain – a beautiful slow piece of music that is like the silence before an enormous thunderstorm strikes. Then suddenly the first track kicks into brutal overdrive. The vocals are so unnerving that it made the hair on my neck stand up. The guitar-riffs are simple, yet very effective and are nicely rounded off by very fast drumming. What is really important when listening to an album this intense is following the lyrics. The brutal honesty with which the lyrics were written is particularly striking. The theme touches on the topic of suicide. Sadly there are some fucktards on the Internet who thinks that this is funny. Someday when they grow up they might begin to understand the trauma and pain that Silencer is screaming about.
You will hear a lot of pieces on this album that start off with a stream of melancholy which suddenly explodes into a painfully fast piece of existential trauma that even the darkest gods in hell will be scared of. Brutal waves of suicide rolls on and then suddenly calms down in a track named “The slow kill in the cold”. But the slow stream does not last very long, because hereafter the shit hits the fan once again. The way in which the album ends is quite nice – the last track is a beautiful piece of piano music that almost reminded me of a mixture between romanticism and some avant-garde kind of melody.
Silencer doesn’t just use screaming, but also coughing and vomiting kind of sounds that is really unnerving. There are also a lot of psychological techniques that are thrown at the listener like bowels of blood that are drained from the merciless screaming and brutal pain. It is easy for critics to describe this music as simple noise, but when you look at the aesthetic features that are woven together from the complex emotional subjectivity of Silencer, it becomes clear that every riff, every sound, every scream speaks from the bottom of a tortured spirit. In this way the philosophical concept of an anomaly is addressed very directly and it results in the construction of a symphony that never bleeds dry. Overall the simple mixture of guitar, drums and occasional keyboards fits quite well with the general dark and depressing aura of this album. This album is a piece of genuine art that might be influential beyond the general depressive black metal cult. It is also something that fans of funeral doom metal might appreciate and those with a taste for avant-garde artists like Diamanda Galas might also enjoy this one.
The symbolism that this album touches on in general is excellent – just as the music are shoved back and forth between slower and faster pieces, so is the life of any human being shoved back and forth between slower, introspective moments and faster, chaotic moments in which the most brutal form of angst sweeps you off your feet and throws you into the darkest corners of the abyss.
It feels to me like everything everyone has written about this album is unbelievably incorrect. It almost feels like everyone's listening to a different album from me- all the wrong (and generally most obvious) aspects of it are emphasized, and not the elements which really make it an enduring piece of art that I still obsessively listen and re-listen to years upon years after hearing it initially. It mystifies me how people can arrive at the same general conclusion about this album- that it's an amazing black metal release which stands tall among the greatest the genre has produced- and yet still so massively understand the aspects which make it incredible. I hope I can evade some of the same pitfalls while writing about it.
I'd like to preface everything by saying all the stories surrounding this album, and Nattramn in particular, are completely irrelevant to its character. Nattramn could be a fucking mailman for all I care and this release would be equally amazing. The thank you list of pharmaceutical drugs, the institutionalization, Nattramn's hospitalization and rebirth as Diagnose: Lebensgefahr (a massively inferior work to this) are all unimportant, and I'm not going to dwell on these aspects after this paragraph. It's a shame that, like so many classic black metal releases, 'Death - Pierce Me' has been reduced to a collection of stories and rumors instead of an artistic piece in and of itself. The only thing that I can hope is that eventually enough years will get between new listeners and its release so that they can listen to it with open minds, not clouded by the celebrity-obsessed metal scene and their love of gossip and drama. Anyway, we're already giving too much time to these elements by even mentioning them.
Have you ever felt depressed? More properly, have you ever 'had' depression? Have you had months-long periods in your life that you can barely remember because they were mostly absorbed by sitting in your bedroom, trying to figure out how to leave and be 'normal' for a moment? I'm not talking about a brief period of intense depression caused by the death of a loved one, of a long-term relationship falling apart, or any other transitory factor: I mean the sort of pathological bleakness that starts in your brainstem and travels down to your soul, to the point where there's brief periods in the day where you know (don't think, know) that suicide is the only answer. Days where the temptation to leave a corpse for others to find and the very act of looking in the mirror is so primally revolting you can barely do it. Days where you sicken yourself just by existing and when sitting in your car you want to start pulling off strips of skin simply because you can't be yourself and exist anymore. It's hard to describe what something like this feels like to someone who's been fortunate enough not to feel it- the very idea that the self no longer makes sense and you spend most of your time in a dream world of total, all-encompassing self-hatred and suffering.
I ask all these questions because Silencer is one of the only bands that I've heard who capture depression as it actually is. Not a romantic sorrow, not something passionate and artistic, but the greyness of living in that mental state, where sadness eventually gets overwhelmed by sheer tiredness, resignation, and regret that you ever existed. There's a potent mixture of insane rage and equally insane self-destruction in this music that I think only really resonates with people who have been there before (and not even all the time, at that). It's a product of a very peculiar mixture of neurological chemicals and environmental suffering, and Silencer captures exactly what it's like to feel it. Not really sad, not crying, not even wishing for another life, but just sitting on the couch, knees pulled to your chest, looking out the window, and not thinking because it hurts too much even to think. It's horribly negative music that I have no doubt has inspired more than a few desperate bids for salvation at the bottom of a pill bottle.
Let's get the most obvious and least important element out of the way quickly: Nattramn's vocals are what they are. He shrieks like a little girl, wheezes, feebly grunts, and sounds weak a lot of the time. He's not a particularly good vocalist by any traditional measure, but he's appropriate for the music and is good, if you listen with an open mind, at putting you in the sort of mental state that this music was likely composed in. He sounds desperate and pathetic and self-pitying and tired- in short, he doesn't sound like a black metal vocalist typically should sound like. He has no breath control, no real understanding of how to deliver lyrics, and no real concern over impressing anyone. He sounds exactly like you feel in the depressive state: just weak and defeated. It's perfect for what it is.
Much more important than any of that, though, are the instrumental compositions which seem to get shrugged off so easily. Silencer's music is at once inspired by Bethlehem (owing to drummer Steve Wolz) and not even remotely similar. While Bethlehem tried for a lurking, almost occult look at mental illness, Silencer's goal is a lot simpler, and the music reflects it. It could be said that Silencer is sort of a rough prototype of what bands like Nyktalgia would later create: long, meandering songs filled with rote blasting, droning, bleak tremolo riffs, and insane, wailing vocals, but there's a certain intimacy and subtlety to the compositions on this record that can't be understated. Nyktalgia is a band created when depressive black metal has already been codified- while they're excellent at it, they have a playbook to follow. Silencer has no such playbook, and because of it is a much stranger beast.
A lot of the standard tropes of depressive black metal are here: fast blast beats become slow because they go on so long, and the bleary, red-eyed tremolo riffs are hazy and not particularly sharp or insistent due to the inherently misty guitar tone. At the same time, there's a lot more rhythmic and melodic play on this record than many give it credit for: careful listening reveals a lot of sinister, quiet counterpoint melodies between the two guitar tracks and even the surprisingly audible bass, which almost acts like a quiet, whispering voice in the background, answering 'yes' to all the questions the guitars ask. The riffs aren't depressive in today's established sense of depressive black metal riffs; they tend to sound more grey, confused, and alien, with 'Taklamakan''s opening riff a particularly unpleasant and clear example of it. Hints pop up of Sterbend, Nocturnal Depression, all the big names the depressive black metal scene would later turn out, but Silencer tends to reside in less obvious and more desolate melodic avenues. They display rainy days in an urban environment, jobs lost because you just stopped showing up for work, and an empty stomach because you can't bother to go grocery shopping. They're not supposed to be catchy or fun, and they don't accidentally run into either.
Beyond that are the surprisingly nuanced drums of Wolz, who despite the relative rhythmic simplicity of the music does all he can to provide a more lush, organic feel to the music. His skills most obviously come out on the numerous piano or clean guitar passages that dot the album, where he's given free reign to play with the boundaries of rhythm, adding subtle, dynamic accents to the stillness of the melodic instruments. Even within the more conventional beats, he always finds time for abrupt, off-kilter fills, sudden cymbal switches, and quick trills here and there which let you know he's still breathing despite the deathlike stamina he displays on the long songs. He provides a welcome bit of variation to what is, at its core, fairly still and static music, and with a lesser drummer, the album wouldn't be as effective.
The structuring of this release is interesting, and I definitely think there's a story being told, as abstract and unconcerned with precision as it clearly is. The first and last of the black metal tracks are clearly more straightforward in their sadness than the middle tracks- they're the catchiest and the most obvious to associate with the album. It's the middle three which really make it what it is, though: the wistful, almost contemplative and sardonic 'Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels', the unspeakably ugly and depraved 'Taklamakan', and the grim, seemingly neverending 'The Slow Kill In the Cold', given even more austere beauty and finality through its bookends of simple, ambient synthwork. These are the songs which really define the album for what it is; it would be easy to shrug off the other two as just unusually unhinged depressive black metal tracks, but these songs give 'Death - Pierce Me' its unique and immediate character. There's no reprieve in these tracks from the all-consuming self-destruction the album practically encourages. Much like all the other tracks on 'Transilvanian Hunger' after the title cut, they're the songs which truly make the album what it is.
There's many small elements apart from the black metal which help set this apart: resigned music-box piano and clean guitar work, droning, haunted synths, and even small stretches of dark ambient and industrial that pop in to provide variation as well as reorganization and context in the long (and intentionally long-feeling) songs. These are some of the only places I've seen these elements used well in black metal- where other bands use clean guitars and piano almost as a necessary evil, or to flatter a pretense of sophistication, Silencer's application of them feels much more natural. Their inclusion is almost arbitrary but also necessary- they're the pieces which keep you anchored to the songs, rather than just drifting in a seemingly endless sea of grey tremolo riffs and blast beats. The focusing nature of these small pieces are powerful, as is the incredibly bleak, death-march closing piano piece 'Feeble Are You - Sons of Sion', where hope is completely and irrevocably lost. This is an album that absolutely must be listened to all at once- it loses almost all meaning when split into individual tracks and is very clearly meant to be consumed as a whole.
Silencer's album really might be one of the most misunderstood pseudo-classics of black metal- while there's an absolute plethora of elements to talk about regarding it, most seem content to just dredge up the same, tired handful of aesthetic aspects that really have little impact on the music in general, or have an impact that's felt in different ways than the listener would typically anticipate. I don't expect anyone new to appreciate this simply because I've written about it in this manner- this album is a love it or hate it affair, and the initial impression almost never changes- but I feel a need to give it some much-deserved context and dissection that it's been missing for a long time. After all, this disc is the story of a lot of days in my life. It only feels fair to give them some justice.
(Originally written for http://www.trialbyordeal666.blogspot.com)
Hype is a strange thing to me. Bands that don’t deserve praise will often get way too much of it, and albums will get praised for their more inferior assets as opposed to their best qualities, it happens all the time, I’m sure any metal fan could name several overhyped albums off the top of his head if he wanted to. The thing that infuriates me the most, though, is that sometimes albums will receive critical acclaim for qualities that don’t even exist in the music at all! I’m not talking about qualities such as the album being good or not, I’m talking about objective qualities, things that really aren’t based strictly on opinion. As you may have guessed, Death – Pierce Me is such an album. What is the nonexistent quality being fellated in this case? The constant claims by black metal fans that don’t know what they’re talking about that this is somehow the most sick, twisted, mentally insane record one could ever hear. This album is not sick or twisted in any way and I’m here to tell you why people think it is but it actually isn’t.
When getting to the root of this misconception, there’s one thing that can’t be ignored, something has to be dismissed right away: The vocals. It’s fairly easy to see why they get so much attention, because the more aggressive sections of the vocals are delivered in an incredibly original manner- they’re very high-pitched, almost like a black metal falsetto in a way, even the whiniest of whiny little shits in black metal (Wrest, for example) can’t match the pitch this guy manages to hold (for quite a long time, too, at some parts) and it’s a fresh take on an over-saturated vocal style. You could call them groundbreaking, I guess, but don’t mistake that for vocals that, as one reviewer put it, “show that his mental capacity is running out and he’s literally going insane”. One thing people like this seem to be missing is that despite their high pitch and volume, they actually sound really clean- they’re quite devoid of any harsh static crackling that’s rather prevalent in black metal vocals and because they’re not really that rough around the edges, the shock value of them merely comes from their higher pitch. I think the reason people say these vocals are “insane” is because, well, remember when you were just getting into extreme metal, or even any facet of metal with harsh vocals? They were strange, weird and uncomfortable to your ears, right? Well, that same lack of conditioning is exactly what’s going on in Death – Pierce Me. The shock of something new and unknown creates over-exaggerations of insanity. After a few spins of this album in full, the vocals don’t really sound mindblowing- they simply sound like a different style, an alternative like any other.
The high-pitched shrieking isn’t the only dimension Nattramn’s voice has, though, he also uses this sick wailing croak the odd time here and there, clearly attempting to sound like he’s crying. A grown man crying- no, wailing- over music? An interesting artistic choice, not something I’m going to demean for the sake of demeaning it, but does it work properly in conveying the insanity Nattramn wants to portray? Not really, when I hear that kind of thing, I’m not thinking to myself, “oh my he’s crying in his music that means he has real metal disorders and emotional pain”, I’m thinking “oh my he’s crying in his music what a whiny little bitch”. Insanity should be shown by raw, spastic ferocity, not pathetic whimpering.
That’s almost enough reason on its own to dismiss rumors of this album’s insanity, because the vocals are the only thing people are actually talking about when they discuss how sick and gut-wrenching this album is, but to be honest, if the vocals were backed up by DSBM that wasn’t as sweet and sugary as this stuff, I might have reason to latch on to the hype. The guitar doesn’t have the crunch it needs to mask the strangely conventional melodies- for something that’s supposed to send me on some intense psychotic journey this is some really melodic, accessible music. Structurally, it seems rather conventional and predictable, too, with simple, logical buildups and transitions- hell, the title track even follows the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format, just stretched out to 10 minutes.
For a "suicidal" black metal album, Death - Pierce Me is rather musically dense- there’s a lot more going on here than most DSBM bands, as others prefer to take the minimalist route and play simpler melodies, letting slow-building chords resonate. Silencer take a slightly less original route (in black metal as a whole, anyways) by juxtaposing sections of basic, standalone melodies on piano or guitar or something, with sections of fast-paced drumming, riffing and screeching, aka “normal” black metal. Everything seems so carefully laid out and planned, and it loses a hell of a lot of its zing because of that- the best DSBM bands are the best because of the raw emotion and complete disregard for anything else in their music, they play because the riffs HAD to come into existence. Every riff needed that exact pitch, timbre, tempo and melody to properly convey the feelings of despair. There’s no sense of necessity or impulse here- every time I hear one of those long, drawn-out pseudo ambient piano sections, all I can picture is Nattramn saying something like “ooh, and then after I’m finished that fast and ferocious section, I’ll cry over a “somber” piano part! If I do that, then people will REALLY think I’m insane!”
Basically, it sounds really contrived. In a strictly musical sense, though, it’s not really a bad thing for the album, as Nattramn does know his way around basic songwriting 101, and for the most part, can write riffs that don’t irritate the shit outta me and actually get me nodding my head some of the time. The guy’s got some clear artistic ability; he’s not just a hack like the legions of other DSBM artists that don’t deserve much more than a shit on their face. However, unfortunately enough, these qualities actually work against the theme of the album- when I hear something that’s been deemed insane, I don’t expect to hear a squeaky-clean, formulaic, polished work- I expect something that either viciously grabs me by the nuts, or, alternatively, lets me settle in to its thin veil of comfort, and only once I pay attention to it do I start to think “man, these guys are pretty fucked up”.
This is far from the worst DSBM there is, for sure- in fact, given that there’s a plethora of god-awful bands that play in this vein, this is probably one of the better albums of the style, simply because of the compositional skill present that so many others lack. On a strictly musical level, I’d probably give this about a 65, give or take a few. However- the simple fact is, this is an artistic failure in the sense that there’s an incredible contrast between what he intended to create and what did create- when listening to this, even though it’s executed professionally I can’t help but feel that the album’s goal falls flat on its face for that reason specifically. It got marked down quite a bit for that. Silencer is simply another overrated novelty band that will get unnecessary praise and hatred until the end of time, and the reality is there’s not really much here worth loving or hating. Death – Pierce Me is inoffensive, bland, and not worth any sort of attention.
Sweet Christ, nothing NOTHING will ever replicate the feeling I had when I first heard Nattramn’s opening scream at the beginning of “Death Pierce Me.” After two whole minutes of soft, repetitive guitar and drums, out of nowhere came the most shit-crazy falsetto wail I had ever heard. What was once an aching progression became frenzied mania, and I have been in love with it ever since. The madness that drips from this album by Swedish black metal band Silencer is acquired through not only the music’s constant change-ups, speeds and slows, but in singer Nattramn’s insane (literally, insane) vocal stylings and noises (hacks, undulatings, screams, and mutterings).
A listener can’t really be comfortable while experiencing the album Death Pierce Me. It makes the hairs on your arms stand straight, causes you to shift in your chair, and always keeps you on your toes. You become as paranoid and unstable as Nattramn appears to be. And if you’re anything like me, you found pleasure in every minute of it, in a primal and subtly masochistic way.
The music may not be the most technically complex, but it doesn't have to be - the message is clear. The complete creation is a grotesque amalgamation that chills the listener. A lot of Death Pierce Me's power comes from how raw and wrong it is - that's were its power comes from. In essence, Silencer were so good at being disturbing that the listener just has to marvel at their work, the fact that its horrifying doesn't matter.
All of this is masterfully executed in my favorite track off the LP “Sterile Needles and Thunderbowels.” After an almost gentle four minutes of staggering screams, Nattramn hacks up phlegm and the music triples in speed. The listener is now on a brakeless locomotive about to splatter against a massive wall of concrete.
What’s almost as interesting as the music is the backstory behind the lead singer. The band split after only one demo and this one LP because Nattramn was institutionalized. Why he was thrown in the crazy-house (Swedish: Crazy Hus) I do not know, but there are rumors of him raping a young girl, cutting off his own hands and attaching pigs’ hooves to them and a bunch of other ungodly crap that is unverified. Apparently he’s out and working on a new project, but only time will tell with that one.
I picked up this album based purely on a recommendation and I had no idea what I was in for. To this day when I listen to it I am flipped upside down and turned inside out.
Review originally written for my tumblr: http://catesatomicgarden.tumblr.com/
I guess you could call Silencer's first and only record the "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" of the "DSBM" scene - an initialism representing depressive/suicidal black metal (of all things...I know) - because it is frequently hailed a masterpiece among a strong circle of black metal fans due to the band's laughably-frenzied biography and musical direction, bluntly speaking. For a general prerequisite, I think most depressive black metal is like contracting syphilis from a cactus, and the general hype around Silencer being "totally sinister and insane" a preposterous reason to become epileptic and randomly shit and piss everywhere like you've reached some spiritual bliss. "Death-Pierce Me" is not a horrible release, but it certainly overloads from a multitude of hindering qualities: good riffs are beaten into the ground for way too long, there isn't much variation, and the record itself is systemically banal at heart. Listening to this makes me realize the world is very depressing, because "Death-Pierce Me" remains typically one-dimensional and yields nothing of interest beyond a few moments of mundane amusement despite piles and piles of false hype.
As for mundane amusement, Silencer has a keen ability to actually stamp strong riffs, apply decent instrumentation, and produce an ambience that will keep you awake unlike other depressive/suicidal black metal groups. The record itself is quite atmospheric, yet the overall sound is sharp at helm: nimble tremolo riffs, smashing percussion with a lot of speed, and flexing bass lines make up the witch's brew. While Silencer's formula isn't harmful at bay, the band just becomes abnormally predictable beyond any sense of rejuvenation. The record itself contains just six tracks running for fifty minutes in totality, with an identical formula applied to each major track that causes Silencer's decent sections to erode away by the second or third listen. Once this settled in, "Death-Pierce Me" was as good as done in my book.
Not much really happens outside of the ten-minute songs that have a few separate sections and end up cycling around endlessly besides a keyboard introduction here and there. I guess a lot of this stuff is just...there. I don't get any emotional response or feel sad (is that the point?) or whatever; it's just a boring CD. And yea, the vocals are disturbing and maniacal, and probably the finest part of Silencer's algorithm: Nattramn's voice jumps from a deafening, painful shriek to a strangling whimper of some sort, that, in a bizarre way, gives Silencer brief and swift justice to these songs and makes the record at least listenable when everything else is quickly blacking out. Would Silencer's legacy remain this revolutionary and enormous had it not been for Nattramn's vocals? "I'll take it to the lab for further analysis," a wise man once said.
I'd be lying if I said all of "Death-Pierce Me" is bland: "Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels" contains some excellent riffs and instrumental sections, whereas the title track, although a bit too long, does a lot better than the other two-thirds of "Death-Pierce Me." The concluding "Feeble are You - Sons of Sion" is actually a pretty cool way to shut down "Death-Pierce Me," but when an instrumental piano-track emits more content than three songs that take up half of the record's material, things are bound to get a bit burnt when the meat hits the grill, so to speak. All in all, the rumors about Silencer's biography are much more entertaining than Silencer's music. You can talk about those "tortured moans of depressive agony" all you want, but that doesn't change the hard truth: "Death-Pierce Me" is a lackluster effort with nothing but hype and boring formulas within its walls.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
Scandinavia is loaded with many of the famous and infamous black metal bands that most extreme metalheads really know about. Though, what category does Silencer really fall into? With so much hate, and so much love, are they famous or infamous? Well, in my honest opinion, they should be revered as a very influential band as their music is of such high quality. Silencer is at the top of the food chain for many of my expectations.
First off, I'd like to address Nattramn's vocal style. If you are one who has jumped on the bandwagon and refuses to listen on the basis that he sounds like a 'dying cat', then you are not listening to the music correctly. His style is to show his real mental capacity is running out, and that he's going insane. It makes sense to me that he would use such a falsetto like scream in his music. Usually when I'm frantically angry, my screaming does take a bit of a higher pitch. With Nattramn, his decides to be a black metal version of Rob Halford or someone along those lines. If you are looking at his vocals for pure skills, you may be let down. Though, I still refuse to believe he has no skills. I haven't heard many black metal vocalists who can scream in such a high pitch constantly and maintain it. Nattramn is a damned good vocalist, and I love his work. Another great thing about Nattramn is his lyric writing. A lot of it is very deep, and also a bit disturbing. A great example is in 'Death - Peirce Me'. I mean, anyone calling you out to kill them or rape them really has some sort of an issue, don't you think?
As for the rest of the band, what can you expect? Only concrete music of course. Silencer is not a band easily bashed when it comes to music. Whether being depressive, such as in 'Sterile Nails and Thunder Bowels', or grindcore-fast as in 'I Shall Lead, You Shall Follow', Silencer doesn't lose your attention at any point. I especially like the more depressive stuff. The guitar has a very nice effect going on (possibly from a pedal), which gives it a sound which is a little muffled. Muffled in such a way that it sounds like it is put into the background. I really like what it does to the overall sound, as well as its boost to the bass guitar. With this effect, the bass guitar is clearly audible in the mix. Though, even the depressing songs usually have their climax. At some point, they'll decide to turn up the intensity and crank out the tremolo riffs. After some slow, depressive one-note picking, these tremolo riffs are quite refreshing. As for the drumming, Silencer isn't an all blast beat band, as many of the aggressive black metal bands are. There's a ton of nice filling and speed changes, I'm not a drummer, but it sounds technical enough to me. I'd also like to point out that the keyboard work on 'Feeble you are, Sons of Scion' and 'The Slow Kill in the Cold' are amazing. Sometimes I'll replay the songs repeatedly because they sound so dark and depressive. Grade-A ambient work.
As you can tell, Silencer really knew how to mix it up. Whether it was depressive guitar work, creepy ambiance, or aggressive black metal it was worth every second of my time to listen to it. All arguments that the vocals ruin the music are really unjustified, in my opinion. Every part of this album comes together and is worth the forty-nine minutes it takes to listen to the entire thing. This album should be appealing to many times of black metal fans, but I'll just leave it at 'go and get this'. It's pure awesome.
Silencer made its first appearance circulating in the Swedish underground somewhere between 1998 and 2000: thankfully the album has been reissued on CD and is now available for sale and/or piracy to a much wider audience.
Silencer will go down as a classic one-album innovator the likes of Thergotten (different genre obviously but same sort of legacy.) Death Pierce Me reverberates with an extremely unstable and ultimately unsustainable energy that almost necessitates the dissolution of the catalyst band after its completion. The only Black Metal parallel that comes to mind is that of Per Yngve Ohlin’s brief stint with Mayhem: a short-lived burst of extreme, self-destructive creativity. (On a side-note, it does my heart good to see another Swede shake up the scene which Norwegians too often claim as their own exclusive birthright.)
The lead singer Nattramn suffers from a documented, very real, and very poignant psychosis: here channeled into an extremely emotive vocal style which sounds at-once both laughably maudlin and brutally severe: genuinely threatening and, at the same time, pathetically vulnerable. Fans of Bethlehem’s Dictus Te Necare will find the style somewhat familiar: indeed, some reports suggest that Bethlehem and Silencer share some band members.
The instrumentals are featured lower in the mix and have been criticized for being “dull,” especially in contrast to Nattramn’s vocals. Despite these and other caveats, the musicians in the group are really quite excellent. The guitar-work and drumming alike both align themselves with the experimental quality of the lyrics: none of the songs on this album are typical Black Metal fair. Musically, the guitar-work wanders in style from death-like chugging to thrash-like use of the whammy-bar, reverb effect, and polychromatic "solos." The drumming likewise dabbles in sections of death-like circular beats and more conventional rhythms.
Ultimately, much of the failure of this album to abide by BM standards must be in some way related to stylistic pressures felt from without, viz. so called “scream-o” style of certain hardcore outfits and the sub-genre of Slipknot/Pumkinhead-ish nu-metal bands, themselves hitting a high-water mark at the time of this album’s conception. Since the heady days of the early 90’s, Black Metal has either largely resisted outside influences or (as in the case of post-Araseth Mayhem and contemporary Darkthrone) given precedence to “attitude” over stylistic dogma. The effect of this trend has been to limit the amount of innovation in the genre as a whole, with many groups either wandering far from the mark in the pursuit of better sales or else clinging to hypnotic reiteration of past ideas in the pursuit of better underground credit. Silencer represents the next generation of Black Metal musicians: separated by time from the formative events of the early 90’s and with their own musical inheritance: the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Fans of the style should be pleased to hear that it is indeed surviving into the new decade, even if they dislike the changes which Death Pierce Me has initiated, and even if they greatly prefer other contemporary offerings.
This is a Suicidal Black Metal album. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means that the albums goal is atmosphere. Suicidal Black Metal tries to fill you with as much depression and despair as is possible. There are two main groups in Suicidal Black Metal, each with its own ‘leader’ of sorts. One group, led by Xasthur focuses solely on the atmosphere. While their music may have interesting moments, it lives solely for the atmosphere that it creates. Their music is stripped of all standard elements and reduced to what basically equates to ambient with metal instruments. The other school, led by Leviathan also strives for atmosphere, but they keep a few other parts of traditional music along with them for the ride. They have some heavy sections and the like thrown in for variety. Both schools can work very well when done correctly…or fail miserably.
If you’ve never heard it, this may sound boring to you. I encourage you, to at least give it a try. Well done Suicidal Black Metal has an effect that only Funeral Doom and it can initiate, and it is truly unique.
A few days ago, I was reading a Xasthur interview. The interviewer asked him a question about what he was listening to lately. Malefic (of Xasthur) responded, with this band. Immediately, I knew I had to get them.
The album cover was interesting and Silencer seemed like such a perfect name for a band of this style. I’d heard that Nattramn had been forcibly admitted into a psych hospital – and that added a touch of creepiness and truth to the whole affair.
The first track, like all the others, opens with an introduction done with non metal instruments. Quite a few of them are done with a piano, and there are others with instruments that I don’t recognize. While starting every song the same way may sound monotonous, it works perfectly here. The album, like almost all Suicidal Black Metal, is meant to be listened to straight through. So instead of the different songs being true songs, they are more like parts of a whole. In that sense, the interludes work perfectly to separate the parts.
After the interludes, the more ‘metal’ portion of the song begins. The instruments are done very well; they are very melodic and depressing. This band is more in the Leviathan camp than the Xasthur, their music contains numerous heavier riffs which serve to break up the music very well. The majority of them are sometimes even headbangable, something very rare in this genre. The latter portion of Sterile Nails and Thunderbolts is a good example to this. Tremelo picked riffs are certainly not a rarity here, as they comprise the majority of the riffs on this album. Most of them are done well. The bass has a fairly decent presence (most notably the introduction to Taklamakan) and the drums are good, although they never venture too far away from a safe blast beat.
In Suicidal Black Metal (and Funeral Doom, as the two are very similar in many ways) bands are forced to straddle a thin line. Not enough repetition and the atmosphere won’t come through. Too much, and the music becomes boring. Silencer has just the right amount on this album. A riff will play until you are enveloped by it, then it will be replaced by another riff. To break up the monotony there are frequent heavy breaks (as mentioned earlier) and in some songs there is an interlude in the middle, with the ambient types of instruments from the beginning.
By now you are probably fairly curious. Why did I give this such a low rating, yet praise almost every aspect of it? The answer is simple, the vocals. Yes, they really are that bad.
They sound like a cat. A dying cat. Or, perhaps there is a better analogy. Remember Varg’s vocals on his debut? They were tortured wails and shrieks, odd and abrasive, yet they fit the music. Now imagine Varg in prison. As he is trying to practice his tortured wails, an inmate comes us behind him and begins to rape him. As he is being raped Varg continues to sing. That is something like what these vocals sound like.
They are not always that bad. They alternate between a fairly faimilar shriek, to a distorted whisper (used to great effect in the last portion of Taklamakan) to the dying cat vocals (used in pretty much every song) to a weird gurgle whine (Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels being the worst offender). The first is fine, the second is actually very cool and the third and fourth are the worst vocals I’ve ever heard. I’m not exaggerating; they are truly painful to listen to. I’ve heard better vocals from pitch-shifted gurglers (Cock and Ball Torture).
Normally, vocals aren’t too big a deal for me. I listen to countless bands that pig squeal or use pitch shifters or shriek and choke into the mic, but there is a big difference here. Those bands were going for heaviness, brutality, speed and the like. Here, the goal is atmosphere. It is impossible to feel depressed and enveloped by the music when the singer is a fucking suffocating feline. It ruins any atmosphere the music might otherwise have had, and without the atmosphere, their isn’t much left.
This album could have been great, equal to the likes of Xasthur, Draugar and Leviathan. The music is easily worth an 85 or more. Unfortunately, the singer is so fucking atrocious that he ventures far into the territory marked ‘unbearable.’ Without the atmosphere, this music is stilted and lifeless. I don’t recommend this to fans of Suicidal Black Metal as the vocals kill any semblance of feeling and if you are new to the genre, I strongly recommend that you check out either Leviathan or Xasthur.
1. a person or thing that silences.
2. a device for deadening the report of a firearm.
3. Chiefly British. the muffler on an internal-combustion engine.
None of these things are particularly metal, but I'm willing to bet the third one sounds better than "Death - Pierce me."
I'll expound on Nattramn's infamously trite vocal performance right away. It would be far too easy to say, "OMZGS, hE SOUNDS LIEK A DYING CAT, OMGZ DIS SUXXCKZ." And while that may be true, attributing bizarreness to low quality is a pop mentality. Where Nattramn fails is his powerlessness and static tonality. His voice can basically be pigeonholed into two categories: an eardrum-shattering shriek, which transforms all of the abstract, self-pitying lyrics into "NYYYEEEEAAARRGHHHH," and a pitiful sobbing whimper executed in a failed attempt at emotional intensity. (Unless you consider wanting to jump into the record to say "it's alright, have a cookie" emotionally intense.) Sometimes he mixes these two techniques in various degrees, the results being various degrees of failure. It's easy to wail like a banshee, but it's hard to make it effective in juxtaposition with one's musical vision, and if you can't, you shouldn't bother. Once in a while, Nattramn attempts a generic raspy hacking style of vocals, which is where his previously mentioned powerlessness really hurts him. Second wave black metal bands didn't get churches burning by lazily growling "slay the fucking lion of Juda" like the Cookie Monster on helium.
The main problem with Silencer's songwriting is that it's too formulaic. For the most part, the songs follow this formula: a depressive acoustic, piano, or Goblin-esque synth intro (some of which are genuinely somber and provocative, but it barely matters since they're rarely central components of the songs), then one unrelated riff kicking in and restating itself through the entire song with a discordant guitar or french horn synth counterpoint melody nonchalantly tacked on. Some of the songs are laced with meandering piano interludes and industrial samples for an artificially inflated sense of variation, but if that's necessary, why not just write better music?
The utterly alien melody at the beginning of "Taklamakan" is probably the best moment of the album. Perhaps that's because Nattramn keeps his damn mouth shut throughout most of it, but it's pretty good nonetheless. However, this one potential bit of glory is stetched into a tedious loop of inanity as the melody is used as a counterpoint to a generic, Burzumic black metal tremolo riff for over seven fucking minutes. Silencer singlehandedly taught the new wave of American black metal abortions like Xasthur and Leviathan that 10 minute long songs automatically equal structural maturity, and for that I'll never forgive them.
But hey, did they write good song titles or what? While the song sucks, "Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels" may have the best name EVER. Does it not conjure images of someone shooting nails out of their ass?
I've always been of the opinion that mediocre art is one of the most harmful things one can produce against his culture. Apparently Silencer take this stance one step further, thinking horrible musicians should die; in the album's booklet, they proudly proclaim "we are ready to leave this place!" Well, please do!
Blacker than pitch, the moment the noise from this incomparably lugubric album touches your ears, or even as soon as you see the album cover, you know this will be no ordinary trip, and that something horrific is about to start. I will mention now that there is probably no collection of songs more perfectly arranged, produced and grimly collected on disc and listened to by yours truly, than this piece of black metal history.
The album starts with a nice drum fill provided by skilled session drummer Steve Walz (now of Bethlehem) and clean guitar lines by this individual known as Leere. The serenity is soon broken by the shrieks of Nattramn. No doubt you’ve heard something about his vocal style so no more to add on that issue… The deeply layered first track sweeps and weaves around itself, continuing to build up and take you voyaging through this unusual soundscape until that sinister piano line starts. This song just sounds like you’re cold and beaten on the floor of some gothic styled building, forgotten and THANKFULLY bleeding to death. The rest of the songs keep in perfect progression of feeling and take you through: the sadness of track two, the frantic angst of track three, the gloomy and sinister nature of the fourth track, then the fifth track starts. This song, “I shall lead, you shall follow” is probably the best one on the album. The conclusion of the album both musically and lyrically, there is no part cooler and more bad assed in any metal song than when Nattramn growls “slay the fucking lion of juda!
You can basically expect excessively grim black metal, there are no folk parts, no Viking chants, and this isn’t a fucking concerto. It is true sinister black metal forged from two individual minds of obscurity writing black metal because this is the only way these feelings could be expressed and not because they simply thought the black metal aesthetic was cool. In the vein of second wave Norwegian bands, but using modes and notes that have never been used before. Each riff is repeated just the right number of times, every vocal line is in just the right place and every piano/synth part is very gloomy indeed, but the songs still seem to out-do each other and lead in a logical direction to the end of the album.
This album is unlike any other. Un-matched in it’s devastating atmosphere, notes placed together, and insane poetry sweep through your mind and soul like some kind of being of total sinister hatred that will rob you of hope that you will ever experience pleasure again. These songs are composed in such an epic and bleak way, that they pass beyond what you could describe as an emotional listen. Digging deeper through your mind and ego these songs explore the shapeless essence of your being, and although they will probably evoke feelings of total grim sadness and spectral-despair, it seems that “death-pierce me” will in fact pierce how you think your mind exists, to the core of your soul. In that space a void will appear, there will either be nothing to find, in which case I suggest you destroy your-self, or your feet will touch the soil again. Unfortunately due to the fucking insanity of this album chances are neither of these will occur and you will be left in obscure, profound and lost depression.
Although this album is out of this world and there is much more you can potentially gain from it than mere entertainment by virtue of musical creativeness… this IS an album review, so I can basically recommend this album to any member of humanity, and although many people will basically not understand it, it will be a night of grimness certainly. The 100% is justified by my grim opinion that for me there is simply no way this album could be improved. I have gotten so much from this recording in the two odd years I have owned it. I still listen to it at least once a week.
Beyond mind is sleep to be found, and this is indeed an album to destroy yourself too! My only solution is the cosmic conclusion!
Sinister. Evil. Insane. Those are the three words that come to mind when I think of Silencer. This black metal outfit from Sweden comes out firing with a full length version of ‘Death – Pierce Me’, three years after their rather unknown demo of the same name.
With high-pitched tortured vocals, numerous haunting dark ambient, piano and acoustic interludes, Silencer are able to convey a feeling of sorrow and anguish within their music. The vocals are by far the most potent and outstanding aspect of this album and frankly, it doesn’t surprise me that Nattramn was institutionalised after this release. His tormented and unsettling vocals are a display of the pure disgust, pain, misery and lunacy that he has most likely been subject to throughout his life. There is no better way to put all these emotions on show than on a black metal album of this type. I guess that these vocals could be put up against the well-respected shrieks of ‘Rainer Landfermann’, in the amount of sheer insanity of the performances.
Sometimes it feels like the instrumental aspects of the music are a bit weak (especially the black metal parts, that seem to quite repetitive after time), putting too much pressure on the Nattramn’s vocals. Luckily enough, his vocal effort is superb but it is still does not prevent this from being the most eminent error on the album.
Not only is Nattramn’s vocal act disturbing, but the picture included in the album booklet is one of the most screwed up band member pictures I have ever seen. Nattramn is slouching against a wall, covered in blood and making an unusual hand gesture with his (apparently) disfigured hands. His face is devoid of detail, and is covered with what seems to be blood-soaked corpse paint or bandages. This is a kind of band picture that even (the old) Mayhem would have been proud of and reflects the pure evil that is ‘Death – Pierce Me’.
It’s a shame that this band had to split up after such a fantastic release. This album is highly recommended to fans of unnerved, dark and totally insane black metal. I cannot envision a black metal fan being majorly disappointed by this release.
Forget all about the so called "crazy" musicians of the metal-underground, for you are about to experience the most utterly insane trip you'll ever have. Silencer's first and only album, Death - Pierce Me, is unlike anything you've ever heard. Guaranteed.
The album kicks off with a dark and moody piano melody, and just as you've gotten adjusted to the ambient feel, the vocals emits from the darkest voids of hell and pierces right through your nerve system. The high pitched screams of Nattramn are so drenched in torture and insanity that you're left wondering if it was really a human, or a wounded animal. From that point on, Death - Pierce Me takes you on a journey through what can only be described as a mind that's totally fucked up, never letting go of the intense emotions of the deranged Nattramn. Not one track sounds the same, but still the feeling of never-ending pain and darkness makes it all blend together in horrible perfection, from the icy cold and eerie solitude that is 'Sterile Nails And Thunderbowels' to the rabid frenzy of 'Taklamakan'. Every track has ambient moments that lets you drift into an abyss of depression, before you're mercilessly flung right back into the mental carnage.
Since the music of Silencer can not be described in just words, I recommend anyone with a taste for the darkest parts of the human mind to pick up a copy of Death - Pierce Me, but be prepared to be taken away. Nattramn was instutionalized, forcing Silencer to split up, but he is now returning with a new project that looks like it will be even more twisted, if that's even humanly possible (if Nattramn is actually human). You have been warned, this album is, as someone else mentioned, not for the weak of heart.
Wow! This is the musical equivalent to agony and desperation. Each scream is just a cry for help. The music itself is pretty simple, throughout each song the formula pretty much stays the same. This album is just sheer insanity. When I got this album I didn't know what to expect but when it started playing I knew I was in for some crazy stuff.
To start off I found that this release wasn't the truest black metal. In my opinion, it's not that black metal at all. I don't even think fans like Burzum would praise this album. Being a fanboy of Burzum myself this album took time to get through my ears. I really had to play it through a few times and catch the drift of the music perse. At times I really thought the screams were annoying as hell and then sometimes you think to yourself "this is really emotional." It's albums like these that touch on your emotions and push your buttons. For me it changed how I look at some bands. Sometimes bands can come off with an atmosphere but what they're doing isn't interesting you, then that album is nothing. There isn't much of an atmosphere on this album but the music really puts up for it. This is the type of album that can pull off simplicity and make it sound good.
I have listened to this album a lot and every time I listen to it, it makes me think. When I go along with the lyrics, i'm reading them and I say "this is some really sick shit." The first song is simply just torture to the lyricist. This stuff is surely not sugar coated in anyway shape or form. This is beyond depression, this is along the lines of insanity. The lyrics are based on torture and suicide. No other band could make music like this that compliments there lyrics that well.
This album really gives you mixed feelings. If you're in a good mood and you listen to this album you can really get down. This album may be recommended for fans of Burzum because just like Burzum this is a band that makes you think. Its bands like Silencer that are the ones that bring up things in music like emotions, suicidal thoughts, torturous thoughts, agony and so much other sick and twisted things.
In all honesty if im looking at only stripped down musical ability, this band is nothing extremely special. I think this album is praised so much is because of what I said above. Being a reviewer the reviews are based on music... In a black metal standard, this is above most black metal today. The drums are perfectly produced. The guitars are really built off simple riffs but have a cold and evil sound to them. The vocals, oh my god. These screams literally sound like cries. These are NOT ordinairy black metal screams. If you have Khanate then you definately know about extreme vocals. These screams are a mix of black metal vocals and Khanate. Honestly, its hard to describe them. Lets put it this way, very emotional.
Overall, this album is pretty much everything I said above. It has its moments and then at times it's really not that great sounding. You have to have a proper mindset to listen to this album. If you are open to all black metal albums or any albums in general, get this album!
This album was not a disappointment to me. I've heard many good things about this album, and they were true. From the moment I put this into my player, I was hooked. The first song opened up with a soothing, yet dark, piano piece. I was actually thinking this would be an ambient kind of music, but then those feelings of peace were suddenly ripped away from me as I heard the wailing of Nattramn. Shivers will be sent up the spine of anyone who is not prepared for the damned voice of Nattramn.
The vocals are the strong points. During the first song, Nattramn uses a wailing, howling scream for his lyrics. The second song, he sounds like a dying Yoda. During the rest of the album, he sounds as if he was the incarnation of insanity and sadism. Every song has its soothing and disturbing parts. It is as if he wants to rip any feelings of peace out of you through his music. This is not a album for wimps.
The guitar riffs are pretty much nothing but power chords, which isn't surprising. Occasionally, you will hear an acoustic accompaniment with the piano, which adds on great. The guitars are obviously drop-tuned to get the dark feel. They may not be the most talented riffs in the world, but they fit the music well.
Overall, this is a very well-done album. I recommend it to any fans of Bethlehem, Xasthur, or Nortt. You will not be disappointed by this album. I must warn that this is not something for easy listening. You will not find this to be your typical "head-banging" metal album.
Being always on the lookout for bands seemingly dwelling in obscurity but nonetheless of high quality and definitely worth listening to, I stumbled across this darkened threnody of an album. Very few bands are even on the same league in terms of sheer insanity and chaotic fluidity encapsulated in this piece of music tentatively entitled 'Death, Pierce Me'; a title tentative and yet revealing of what is to follow upon placing this disc in your CD player. The first track starts with a smooth and reassuring piano piece before the incipient signs of insanity scythe through at full blast. The wailing, penetrating and ear-piercing cries of Nattramn burrow through the ear drum leaving you in an initial state of surprise before you finally become habituated to his unrivaled vocal delivery. Melodious and sweeping guitar riffage which always move on frenetic rhythms exacerbate all our mental wounds and leave the senses in a state of dread and alarm. Cleaner piano passages sporadically crop out assuaging the wounds made by this audial assault before we are once again plunged into madness as if being carried on an emotional roller coaster. The vocalist is screaming, crying, choking, doing anything humanly possible through his vocal chords; he is not imitating nor is he putting any effort to do so, this is a person who is genuinely in psychic torment. This is an album which at first take you must press the replay button to re-assure yourself that what you heard was actually real. Black metal? Perhaps.. But this album delves in so many levels that labeling its uncompromising and subversive sound, makes the tag seem mundane and insufficient. This is the soundtrack of meditative suicide, a never ending damning to bottomless perdition, the tormented cries of the damned; what more is to say truly?
The disgust in the morbid black metal of Silencer cannot be compared. It is a greatly unique band in all its efforts. When a great friend of mine introduced 'Death - Pierce Me' to me, I was instantly shoked and was stuck in a laughing frenzy. It was quite unbearable due to the horrible, o-so-horrible vocals of Nattramn. After several times of carefully listening to this band with an open mind, I find myself greatly attached to the depressing feel of this grand record. I myself wouldn't quite say it's perfect, considering it IS still a black metal record :) However, it's at the top of my 'nordic list'. Surly we are aware of the works from the band Bethlehem. If you love the whiney vox of Rainer Landfermann on the Dictius Te Necare CD of Bethlehem, you might just be able to withstand 5 minutes of Nattramn's vocals... ahem, crying, done in Silencer. Imagine Count Grishnakh being fucked up the ass by his jailmate, Big Bad Bubba, the 180 kilo black dude you know didn't star as an orc in Lord Of The Rings. Yes, it is really horrible; so much that it's really well-fitting and well influencing. Nattramn's lyrics none-the-less! The guitar work in this album is of a more flowing black metal kind, not crappy and 'raw/gay' like most bands. It moves like a fog through your lil pea-sized brain, infected by the strange feeling of this album due to great production and subtle keyworks. Drums could be considered typical, but still flowing. This album is highly recomended for the insane!! This will truly fit your nightmares, alot better than that old Slipknot CD you used to own when you thought the church in your town was pointless and brainwashing. Finally a black metal album that is NOT cliche. Genius stuff!
P.S. Nattramn has been institutionalized, forcing an end to Silencer. The guy was definatly dropped on his head when he was a baby! His feelings make this a black metal band worth taking more seriously.