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The third section introduces a hard reverberated rhythm that seems to lead somewhere but never delivers the goods despite some crafty synth-work. On track four we're brought back into ambient territory with some pleasantly unobtrusive sounds and percussive loops, which is clearly the duos strong suit. The concluding piece builds from a web of disparate samples into a disturbed soundscape punctuated by bursts of noise alongside a sequenced melody.
In general, Nachtmystium are still most definitely moving in the right direction as far as defining their signature sound, and thus perhaps an entirely new subgenre / culture within black metal itself if it finds a big enough following...
While this release first saw the light of day in 2005 as a CD-R release, the music finds itself at its best via the vinyl medium. This was the first in what was to be a collage of absolutely brilliant records by Nadja (as their previous albums weren't too overwhelmingly spectacular), but none of their future recordings ever matched the grace or overbearing bleakness that derived from Bodycage. Bodycage is an absolutely crushing release, built around a desperate melancholy that to this day is unmatched by any band that attempts to steal the throne away from Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff.
The album ends with a lengthy, uncredited piece of whirring guitar-drone that slowly ebbs into nothingness. Not available on the original release, it’s an inessential addition that makes for a nice outro and reminds me of some of the more ambient passages in Trent Reznor’s Quake soundtrack – eerie wails slowly fade in and out of existence against the background of a perpetual throbbing until it decays into feedback and jackhammer drums. It takes some time to get into its stride but it’s horrifyingly furious when it does.
The last track, "Jornada Del Muerto," is a chef-d'oeuvre of traditional drone doom music. It shares some of the elements of early Sunn O))) work as well as the band's collaboration album with Boris, released in 2006.
Naevus does an excellent job keeping their instrumentation balanced, fading sounds and feelings in and out, throughout the entire album. They do not take one path and wear it down; rather, they wander here, segue smoothly somewhere else, and then take you to the end in a friendly, respectful manner.
The constant acoustic guitars’ tone also contributes giving the music something melancholic (sometimes with strange harmonies), as well as the voice, whose delivery remains controlled, slow and constant.
“Silent Life” features a rather constant intensity in the music, is rhythmically quite linear. The acceleration of tempo on “Bobby Shafto” is noticeable but exceptional.
But a striking point is the drums on some songs (mainly “Spring Summer Railway”): they express a constant percussive rolling, taking the listener along in some kind of hypnotic mind-trip, paradoxically intense and calm, static and dynamic.
The song, as a
whole, keeps a consistent speed throughout—not too fast or slow—when
veering either way would ruin it; this gives the song a calm, hip,
cool, and collected feel to it. Topping the whole track off, and
truly giving it the essence, is the singer's voice.