2006 saw Nachtmystium release Instinct: Decay, which many consider the band’s break-through album. It was their third full length, released on singer and band leader Blake Judd’s own Battle Kommand label, in addition to numerous EPs, 7”s and splits. The album appeared at the top of many major metal outlets year end lists, exposing them to a much larger audience. It was towards the end of that album cycle that Judd came up with the Black Meddle concept.
“I started to see these comments on how Instinct wasn’t a true black metal record,” Judd states. “I thought it was ridiculous. I’m not making music so that some kid can feel safe knowing everything in his world is structured and nice and neatly organized. The Black Meddle series was me wanting to experiment, meddle around so to speak, and create something different. It’s like ‘oh you didn’t think that was black metal, wait until you hear this, fucker’”.
Judd decided he didn’t want to release the Meddle albums himself and sought out some label partners, signing to Candlelight in Europe and Century Media in North America. “I did a two record deal, the idea was to put them out and let them stand apart on someone else’s label and then I’d just go back to doing everything from there on my own.” Black Meddle Pt.1: Assassins and Black Meddle Pt. 2: Addicts released in 2008 and 2010, respectively, were two of the best hailed albums of the past few years. Decibel magazine declared "Nachtmystium are all about confrontation, daring people to have enough of an open mind to look past what they perceive to be 'true' heavy music and accept the fact that a little experimenting never hurt anybody.”
In the 5 years that passed since Judd started the Meddle series, the music industry turned upside down. Judd licensed most of his titles out and effectively put Battle Kommand on hiatus. Century Media signed the band to a worldwide deal in the Summer of 2011 and soon after that, Judd began working on ideas for what was to become their 6th full length, Silencing Machine.
“I think it’s somewhat fair to say that this is the follow up to Instinct. I’m extremely proud of the Meddle albums, but that chapter in Nachtmystium is done now. I see bands all the time saying ‘we’re going back to our roots’ which isn’t exactly the case with Nachtmystium. We never really left them, just took a little detour and fucked around with them a bit. To me, the vibe on Silencing isn’t that much different from Decay.”
What is a bit different this time around is the band. Actually, it’s more like the band is the same, which is a bit new for Judd. “I’ve had most of these guys in the band for several years now. Drew and Charlie are amazing musicians in their own right (Markuszewski is the man behind Avichi, while Fell fronts Lord Mantis) and being able to work with them on this album has been great, plus we’ve had Sanford (Parker, producer extraordinaire) as an official member of the band for a while. He’s toured with us quite a bit and helped with the writing on this one. Will has been involved with so many bands over the years, but was able to set some time aside to be in the studio with us, he’ll be out touring with us as well. So it felt like a band, with everyone contributing, not just me saying ‘this is what it should be’.”
So what is it this time around, one might ask? Judd answers “It’s a fuckin’ black metal record”.