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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 baileysmmcreamy.blogspot.com)

Blacklodge – MachinatioN - 70%

Asag_Asakku, September 11th, 2012

Genres mixing have caused some of the most important stylistic innovations. Throughout the ages, visionary artists have had the foresight to cross sounds that might initially appear incompatible. Of course, black metal also had its share of crossbreading, most notably with hard rock, folk, and even classical music. However, some amalgams are rather confusing. This is exactly what French band Blacklodge is offering us with its fourth album called MachinatioN. Founded in 1998 and led since then by Saint Vincent, who also screams for Vorkreist, the group brutalizes its audience with an ultra-fast cold and mechanical industrial black metal. Surprising results are obtained when Satan meets the machine.

Indeed, black metal is usually an organic music, bathed in dark feelings, far from artificial or electronic sounds. However, Blacklodge reverse this perspective with a style closer to those practiced by bands like KMFDM or Atari Teenage Riot. Battery / drum programming is based on an infernal rhythmic that starts right from TridenT and slows only on rare occasions. Result is dense, with very catchy techno loops. On several occasions, I even had the impression to listen some songs written by Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly) and Michael Balch (Ministry). Even if it is rhythm that is in control, guitar also adds his two cents with great riffs, effectively scattered throughout the album, especially on Neo.Black.Magic, that makes you want to furiously break your neck. However, and this is a complaint that I address the entire industrial style; album’s second half is much weaker. The inspiration seems to be missing and a title like All Seeing Eye seems like filler, while The Other Side seems to pump from some Skinny Puppy experiments.

However, hybridized music lovers, do not spoil your fun. Black metal and industrial share many common features which add and complement each plot. Quick and nihilistic, this record offers no respite. And for the skeptics and other scum, just admit that such a crossing is probably preferable to a terrifying Black n ‘Hop! 7/10

Originally written for Métal Obscur.