Death - Pierce Me
Review by TheOneNeverSeen on February 4, 2024.
Here it is, "Death - Pierce Me" by Silencer, the band that has more myths surrounding it than the songs it wrote. As always, I won't be paying any attention to the sp00ky stories of how Nattramn allegedly cut himself while recording this album or killed a girl with an axe and ended up in a loony bin, I am here for the music.
The musical style of the album is rather intricate. Nattramn's vocals mercilessly piercing your ears (you get the joke, don't you?) are no way near traditional DSBM rattling whisper or sobbing shrieking. Due to their phantasmagorical sound, they don't even seem sad or depressed. Instead, they are... insane. Yeah, that's the word that would fit his style more than anything. Most of the time he just squeals the abstract lines varying between actual darkness ("I am what you deserve,/Death do me submerge", "Needles, injecting pain/Flammable skin/And deadly thirst") and excessive pretentiousness ("I am.../The silverhawk,/The razorking,/The cosmic observer,/The galactic crusader,/The eater of thoughts") in agony. While this style is definitely not for everyone, I find it unconventional and, well, impressive (not many vocalists can scream like this).
Just like the vocals, the instruments are good. The guitar sound is very clean, which doesn't prevent it from sounding emotional and tense (especially at the start of the title track and on "The Slow Kill in the Cold", where the lead and the rhythm guitar combine to form a truly atmospheric sound). The energetic drums (also very clean) alongside the occasional keyboards and acoustic guitar also add to the album's emotionality.
Speaking of the album's riffs, I wouldn't say they are particularly amazing. Rather, it's the guitar tone and the insane vocals that make them remarkable. The songwriting is good, especially on "Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels" and "Taklamakan", where various parts of the song concentrated on different emotions and moods are nicely merged together.
The best thing about the album is probably its consistency. The songs don't feel too long or uniform (personally I deemed the piano outro "Feeble Are You - Sons of Sion" unnecessary, but the rest of the songs are fine at least and cool at most). The record has numerous notable moments, such as Nattramn's first scream, the intro riff and the… breakdown? of "Sterile Nails and Thunderbowels", the outro of "Taklamakan" or the synth intro of "The Slow Kill in the Cold". The sound doesn't lose its power over time, nor does the songwriting.
So, while "Death - Pierce Me" certainly isn't able to compete with the melancholic trance of "Soundtrack for a Suicide - Opus II", the engrossing sound of "Subliminal Genocide" or the pure despair and mind-blowing (both metaphorically and literally (you know, when you shoot yourself in the head, you kinda... blow your mind... Alright, I will stop)) riffs of "Dipsomania", it is a very unusual album for DSBM and definitely doesn't deserve the hatred it sometimes gets. It is not the best album in the genre, but it's certainly among the most remarkable and eerie ones.
Rating: 8 out of 1049
Review by Alex Grindor on February 4, 2024.
Silencer, a band probably a little underground an unknown to some, recorded only one album and one demo, a one track demo named Death, Pierce Me and I must say that, though it doesn't match the final version on the album, its still very interesting to hear, and to those who got this before the album know that. Mostly because of the diferences with this version and the final one in the album.
First of all, the music. This version starts with some single acoustic guitar notes (acompannied by the bass), and then starts almost like in the final version, only that the Hi-Hat sounds a little louder and the acoustic guitar sound slightly different. The guitars in this song are really low, almost unhearable. The piano interlude is a little different and short too and the song's tempo is slightly slowler.
Then we have Nattramn's vocals. Unlike the final version, it doesn't sound extremely weak (and comical), the vocals are not that high. The vocals are more agonizing that insane, which makes the sound really different compared with its final version. Personally, I think he should have used vocals more agonizing instead of that comically insane (or insanelly comical) high shrieks we heard on the album (but still, if Nattramn hadn't done that, Silencer wouldn't be Silencer)
If you like Bethlehem, you will like this as well, a good choice to hear that will make you travel to the mind of an agonizing and insane singer as Nattramn was. Though the final version is WAY much better (vocally speaking), is never to late to hear the beginnings... unless you're a little crying baby. If that's so (as Jeff the Killer would say), go to sleep...
Rating: 9 out of 1049
Review by Nathan on February 4, 2024.
Hype is a strange thing to me. Bands that don’t deserve praise will often get way too much of it, and albums will get praised for their more inferior assets as opposed to their best qualities, it happens all the time, I’m sure any metal fan could name several overhyped albums off the top of his head if he wanted to. The thing that infuriates me the most, though, is that sometimes albums will receive critical acclaim for qualities that don’t even exist in the music at all! I’m not talking about qualities such as the album being good or not, I’m talking about objective qualities, things that really aren’t based strictly on opinion. As you may have guessed, Death – Pierce Me is such an album. What is the nonexistent quality being fellated in this case? The constant claims by black metal fans that don’t know what they’re talking about that this is somehow the most sick, twisted, mentally insane record one could ever hear. This album is not sick or twisted in any way and I’m here to tell you why people think it is but it actually isn’t.
When getting to the root of this misconception, there’s one thing that can’t be ignored, something has to be dismissed right away: The vocals. It’s fairly easy to see why they get so much attention, because the more aggressive sections of the vocals are delivered in an incredibly original manner- they’re very high-pitched, almost like a black metal falsetto in a way, even the whiniest of whiny little shits in black metal (Wrest, for example) can’t match the pitch this guy manages to hold (for quite a long time, too, at some parts) and it’s a fresh take on an over-saturated vocal style. You could call them groundbreaking, I guess, but don’t mistake that for vocals that, as one reviewer put it, “show that his mental capacity is running out and he’s literally going insane”. One thing people like this seem to be missing is that despite their high pitch and volume, they actually sound really clean- they’re quite devoid of any harsh static crackling that’s rather prevalent in black metal vocals and because they’re not really that rough around the edges, the shock value of them merely comes from their higher pitch. I think the reason people say these vocals are “insane” is because, well, remember when you were just getting into extreme metal, or even any facet of metal with harsh vocals? They were strange, weird and uncomfortable to your ears, right? Well, that same lack of conditioning is exactly what’s going on in Death – Pierce Me. The shock of something new and unknown creates over-exaggerations of insanity. After a few spins of this album in full, the vocals don’t really sound mindblowing- they simply sound like a different style, an alternative like any other.
The high-pitched shrieking isn’t the only dimension Nattramn’s voice has, though, he also uses this sick wailing croak the odd time here and there, clearly attempting to sound like he’s crying. A grown man crying- no, wailing- over music? An interesting artistic choice, not something I’m going to demean for the sake of demeaning it, but does it work properly in conveying the insanity Nattramn wants to portray? Not really, when I hear that kind of thing, I’m not thinking to myself, “oh my he’s crying in his music that means he has real metal disorders and emotional pain”, I’m thinking “oh my he’s crying in his music what a whiny little bitch”. Insanity should be shown by raw, spastic ferocity, not pathetic whimpering.
That’s almost enough reason on its own to dismiss rumors of this album’s insanity, because the vocals are the only thing people are actually talking about when they discuss how sick and gut-wrenching this album is, but to be honest, if the vocals were backed up by DSBM that wasn’t as sweet and sugary as this stuff, I might have reason to latch on to the hype. The guitar doesn’t have the crunch it needs to mask the strangely conventional melodies- for something that’s supposed to send me on some intense psychotic journey this is some really melodic, accessible music. Structurally, it seems rather conventional and predictable, too, with simple, logical buildups and transitions- hell, the title track even follows the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format, just stretched out to 10 minutes.
For a "suicidal" black metal album, Death - Pierce Me is rather musically dense- there’s a lot more going on here than most DSBM bands, as others prefer to take the minimalist route and play simpler melodies, letting slow-building chords resonate. Silencer take a slightly less original route (in black metal as a whole, anyways) by juxtaposing sections of basic, standalone melodies on piano or guitar or something, with sections of fast-paced drumming, riffing and screeching, aka “normal” black metal. Everything seems so carefully laid out and planned, and it loses a hell of a lot of its zing because of that- the best DSBM bands are the best because of the raw emotion and complete disregard for anything else in their music, they play because the riffs HAD to come into existence. Every riff needed that exact pitch, timbre, tempo and melody to properly convey the feelings of despair. There’s no sense of necessity or impulse here- every time I hear one of those long, drawn-out pseudo ambient piano sections, all I can picture is Nattramn saying something like “ooh, and then after I’m finished that fast and ferocious section, I’ll cry over a “somber” piano part! If I do that, then people will REALLY think I’m insane!”
Basically, it sounds really contrived. In a strictly musical sense, though, it’s not really a bad thing for the album, as Nattramn does know his way around basic songwriting 101, and for the most part, can write riffs that don’t irritate the shit outta me and actually get me nodding my head some of the time. The guy’s got some clear artistic ability; he’s not just a hack like the legions of other DSBM artists that don’t deserve much more than a shit on their face. However, unfortunately enough, these qualities actually work against the theme of the album- when I hear something that’s been deemed insane, I don’t expect to hear a squeaky-clean, formulaic, polished work- I expect something that either viciously grabs me by the nuts, or, alternatively, lets me settle in to its thin veil of comfort, and only once I pay attention to it do I start to think “man, these guys are pretty fucked up”.
This is far from the worst DSBM there is, for sure- in fact, given that there’s a plethora of god-awful bands that play in this vein, this is probably one of the better albums of the style, simply because of the compositional skill present that so many others lack. On a strictly musical level, I’d probably give this about a 65, give or take a few. However- the simple fact is, this is an artistic failure in the sense that there’s an incredible contrast between what he intended to create and what did create- when listening to this, even though it’s executed professionally I can’t help but feel that the album’s goal falls flat on its face for that reason specifically. It got marked down quite a bit for that. Silencer is simply another overrated novelty band that will get unnecessary praise and hatred until the end of time, and the reality is there’s not really much here worth loving or hating. Death – Pierce Me is inoffensive, bland, and not worth any sort of attention.
Rating: 3.4 out of 1049