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Blacklodge: Machination - 85%

filthgrinding_scum, December 7th, 2012

This fourth outing from the French industrial black fiends is another excellent installment in their catalogue, even if at times it feels like 'Solarkult' mk. II.

Blacklodge are unfortunately somewhat of an unknown name in the realms of black metal with people only seeming to know of them once they are making an effort to get into the industrial side or they find out about the band from other projects such as TAOS or Vorkreist, this is a travesty because Blacklodge offer up some of the hardest and heaviest industrial black that will have even the most disparaging of the inorganic influence metalheads pleasantly surprised.

Blacklodge are a band that for me have two of the big things I love in black metal and marry them up perfectly, namely, they're industrial and they're French. Anyone in the know of industrial black from France will tell you that this combination is devastating with acts such as Spektr, Neo Inferno 262, Reverence and sickeningly weird Diapsiquir showcasing my point completely.

Blacklodge are a band whom I hold in high esteem and each release of theirs is always one marked down on the calendar, their brand of industrial black is primarily defined by their programming of drums which have a vary dance-focused aesthetic characterised by thick, dense pulsing bass that most think of when electronic music comes to mind. After the drums most of the electronics are subtle and don't carry melody in the way bands like Aborym or Mysticum do, the guitars are razor sharp adding to the clinical industrial feel and the vocals provided by St. Vincent are harrowing and original, allowing for more normal vocal delivery to be channelled through his growls producing a very sinister delivery.

The biggest downfall I can pick with this album is that it sounds like a companion piece to 'Solarkult', Blacklodge over the course of their three previous albums managed to evolve and change what they did whilst still retaining what makes them good, from 'Login:Satan' where they had light speed and guitars steeped in treble, then came 'Solarkult' which was brilliant, it gave a new lease of life to industrial black and was an intricate and very heavy masterpiece, truly defining Blacklodge as a current black metal band not to be trifled with, then 'T/me' which kept parts of 'Solarkult' but also showed a more progressive side, with songs and soundscapes taking up far more minutes than they ever had done before; through all of these Blacklodge have proven time and again they know how to keep things fresh and expand their own musical ideas, until Machination, which unfortunately leaves me wanting. Do not get me wrong, it is still stellar and is one of the best albums I've heard this year, but it leaves me wondering where they will go next and if this is all they can manage to produce from now on. I won't be a happy bunny because it'll be 'Anaal Nathrakh' syndrome all over again.

I highly recommend this album to anyone looking for variation in their black and as a good starting point to listen to Blacklodge for the first time, as it demonstrates their 'sound' perfectly whilst also showing what the band are currently doing and producing as opposed to earlier efforts which aside from 'Solarkult' are different (somewhat).

(Originally written for