Styxian Industries are a fairly new band, their earliest demos/rehearsal recordings grinding forth in 2009.
Zero Void Nullified (Of Apathy and Armageddon), is their second full length, and first release on Satanath Records. The trio offer up a near hour of Industrial Black Metal, and do so in a way that manages to sound very authentic and driving; retaining the best of both of the primary musical genres presented.
While Black Metal has quite extensive diversity of expression, many would agree that the most appealing element of it is the raw darkness it expresses both sonically and thematically. In terms of the musicality, another essential element for many listeners is the almost hypnotic quality of the riffs which often melt together in distortion, speed, and grim (sometimes downright low-fi) production values.
Of the many other extreme musical expressions, perhaps only Industrial Music offers a matching aesthetic, particularly the harder styles which evolved from the likes of Skinny Puppy, Funker Vogt, Laibach, et al.
As such, they can make for very interesting fusion of styles — or the occasional horrible musical abortion — but fortunately, that is not the case here.
Firstly, the Black Metal, including blasts and hypnotic riffs, are executed with harsh, ominous conviction. Opening track “Feed Us” presents a deep,electronic beat under a speeding, but undeniably blackened, riff.
The production values are surprisingly crisp but without ruining the requisite sterility needed for the music; A certain coldness is expected of both these styles, however, the sound here is manages vitality, and a clarity of sound that only helps the listener understand the musical vision.
Black Metal is almost (notoriously) bad about the lack of lower frequencies, but Styxian Industries don’t shy away from low-end pulse, and that adds power. In fact, there is a missed opportunity to really push for low-end here; they should boldly counter seek the widest sonic range and aim for to mix the lowest of lows underneath that the cutting treble attack of their Black Metal assault.
The vocal styles are also diverse; including chants, howling screeches, and some nicely timed death growls. Some great ambient keyboard/soundscape elements frequently mesh with slower, ambient guitar parts, and as a whole, the album provides enough diversity and creativity to beckon the listener onward.
Other standout tracks include “Salvation,” the title track “Zero Void Nullified,” which while certainly not quite dance music, might be well-received in one of the more extreme fetish clubs.
There’s always a bit of a risk trying to combine different genres, but it is in that boldness that music finds new ideas and fresh expression. Mysticum and Arborym both set a high standard for this melding of dark, extreme music– bands who were significant influences on Styxian Industries. Fortunately, they can be proud of having successfully added to the Black Metal/Industrial dialectic with this worthy release, proving there are still twists and turns available to both of these genres.