Black Lodge - MachinatioN (Season of Mist)

The Devil's got a drum machine and he's not afraid to use it...
Release Date: 
31 May 2012 - 11:30pm

The press release for Black Lodge's MachinatioN says "Input: chemical madness. Output: Industrial Black Metal." and that pretty much sums up this crazy French trio's latest work.

We're straight into it with TridenT; there's no spooky intro - we're thrown headlong into the path of the blasting drum machine. It's industrial. It's black metal. What could possibly go wrong? Saint Vincent delivers some suitably screechy vocals over the break-neck speed guitars, there are samples of chanting hauntingly reminiscent of Crowley's Enochian Calls and it sounds like St Vincent has run through every conceivable programme on the drum machine in one sitting. Terribly bent notes conjure up the sound of a universe crushed to naught and it's most invigorating.

I see that Black Lodge have a penchant for strange grammar in their titles; NeutroN Shiva [Sun, Walk with Me!] is up next with a different take on the drums. The word 'Satan' gets a good outing and I'm struck by the rather excellent production on here; you can hear everything that's going on (including all the sirens and chanting which loom out of the mix at you).

The album was mixed and mastered by Tore Stjerna so we doff our cap to you, good sir. Neo.Black Magic has all manner of crazy electro sounds united in an unholy marriage with the guitars (also supplied by St Vincent and Narcotic) and bass (from AcidJess). There's an oddly cute bass line on this one which fits in well. Yes, cute and spooky; like a kitten with corpse-paint. NBM fades into Industrial Temple MysticA with its slow build that rises to those infernal drums. There are a lot of subtle effects woven into the album and you could hear this many times and still not grasp them all. Antichrist Ex Machina has those horrific bent guitar notes again, they frighten me terribly and I hide under the bed ("No, Nurse. I won't come out - not until you give me some 'E' to help me cope with the drums.")

Order of Baphomet
is packed with samples of frogs, insects, preaching religious types and maniacal laughter. The drums are popping like skin over an open fire and it's a swirling broth of mayhem and devil piss. The grinding guitars against the endless drums... it's sending me a little mad but surely that's a good thing? Empire's Hymn has so much going on, you could possibly overdose on sound. And that may be one of the downsides of this album - there's so much going on that the casual listener may find themselves overwhelmed by the vastness of it all - that and the fact that the programmed drums might give you the shits. But I love a bit of industrial so it's not a problem for me.

All Seeing Eye is beautifully disorientating and Culto al Sol [SolarKult] is just mental; you just have to hear it for yourself. Last track The Other Side lures me from under the bed, if only to see what the hell is going on. It's the slowest track on here and you can trance out to the slow, slow black metal beats. Quite possibly the black metal/industrial equivalent of trip-hop? If you like your metal smeared in grease and smacked about the place with electro blast beats then you'll probably get right into this.