“Emperor” – Nightside Eclipse,1994 CD-REVIEW by Patrick Philip
This is my review on one of the absolute most important albums in the history of Black Metal, the album in which I speak of is Emperor’s first full length studio album In the Nightside Eclipse. This album is the pinnacle, the magnum opus, the crowned jewel of not just Emperor, not just black metal but music as a whole. The album begins with Into the Infinity of Thoughts the song starts with an eerie cold ambient intro and then quickly propels you into a powerful blizzard of drums, icy guitars and majestic ethereal keyboards along with shrieked vocals that sound like a wintery beast that had just awoken from its slumber. Next we have The Burning Shadows of Silence, this song has a dark and sinister sound yet keeps the majesty of the album. The symphonic elements on this album is one of the reasons why this album is so amazing, one could say Emperor were the first to take this route in black metal, by taking the extremity and raw power of black metal and transforming it into something truly grandiose and artistic. Bands like Darkthrone and Gorgoroth were mastering recreating the raw and primitive sound early of bands from the 80’s like Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer while Emperor was doing something truly incredible and otherworldly. On the third track Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times, the song begins with a great riff followed by the icy howling of the vocals. This riff is well known and loved by many fans of Norwegian Black Metal around the globe. The fourth track Beyond the Great Vast Forest is one of my favorites of the album but then again so is every song on this album. It starts with a powerful shriek and a beautiful symphonic melody and is full of dark, ominous yet ethereal and beautiful keyboards. This whole album is just so well composed and no other album has been able to fully recreate the atmosphere and emotions that are evoked in somebody when they listen to this album.
Next on the album is the song Towards the Pantheon which starts off with a slow clean guitar melody and ambient symphonic backdrop but then picks up and creates the symphonic black metal sound we all love to this day.
The sixth track The Majesty of the Night Sky has to be my personal favorite of the album if I truly had to choose. This song is literally like a soundtrack for gazing up at the stars on a clear winter night and seeing how the stars gleam and shimmer like a million little crystals of ice. It’s one of the reasons I truly fell in love with Black Metal, no other genre within metal can really give you this spiritual feeling and connect you to nature the way Black Metal does. This song opens with a simple guitar riff along with the vocals and then follows with an epic guitar melody but then the vocals stop…. and the keyboards come in as the guitars begin to become silent entirely….. then you hear most beautifully composed symphony of all time… As I try my best to describe this moment of pure majesty the only examples I could think of is a feeling of floating in the endless beauty of a starlit sky and watching a sea of stars open before your eyes. You hear the vocals not screaming but soft spoken word moment as the beauty continues. The keyboards stop as you hear a powerful tremolo picked riff and then are blasted by the cold ghostly shrieks and then the song ends with a mighty crack of thunder. The seventh song is I Am the Black Wizards, this song has one of the best Black Metal riffs of all time. The riff sounds so dark yet melodic like a fiery comet soaring in the sky. The vocals are powerful, sinister, grim but at the same time are beautiful and angelic. The song creates a feeling as if you were riding a horse in the forest covered mountain peaks and discovered a circle of evil wizards conjuring dark entities in their cauldrons. The lyrics on this album are incredible even if some of them aren’t properly translated.
“Far up in the mountains,
where the rain fall not far,
yet the Sun cannot reach.
The wizards, my servants,
summon the souls of macrocosm.
No age will escape my wrath.
I travel through time and I return to the future.
I gather wisdom now lost.
I visit again the eternally ancient caves,
before a mighty Emperor thereupon came.
Watching the mortals “discovering” my chronicles, guarded
by the old demons, even unknown to me.”
Last but not least we have Inno a Satana the eighth and final song of this masterpiece of an album. This song is like an opera of pure dark majesty with amazing vocals and outstanding melodies this song really shows the perfection of the album and really gives the listener something to remember as the album ends in pure magnificent glory and brilliance. This album truly stands the test of time. 8/10
Patrick Philip / MHF