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|2.||Into the Infinity of Thoughts|
|3.||The Burning Shadows of Silence|
|4.||Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times|
|5.||Beyond the Great Vast Forest|
|6.||Towards the Pantheon|
|7.||The Majesty of the Nightsky|
|8.||I Am the Black Wizards|
|9.||Inno a Satana|
Review for 'Emperor - In the Nightside Eclipse'
Emperor needs little introduction, being the band that practically created the whole Epic / Symphonic Black Metal subgenre by themselves, and In The Nightside Eclipse, their debut full length album, was their weapon of choice. Little did they know it at the time of its release, but In The Nightside Eclipse and the subgenre it set in motion would eventually spawn hundreds upon hundreds of new bands, with their roots either in Black Metal or other genres, all eager to try their best at combining extreme metal with orchestral elements. Some would accomplish their mission, while others would fail miserably. Emperor, their work complete, minded their own business and carried on evolving their sound, copying no-one but themselves.
I hope you enjoyed that brief and slightly (but only slightly) exaggerated summary of the influence that Emperor's first album had on the Black Metal genre as a whole, but the truth is that no matter where you look, most symphonic extreme metal bands can trace their roots back to either Norway's Emperor or Sweden's premier symphonic metal band Therion.
That's enough of that, let's move on to the actual music itself. In The Nightside Eclipse begins with a brief introduction, already incorporating some minor keyboard elements and background choirs early on, setting a great apocalyptic atmosphere before the first song and longest track on the album "Into The Infinity Of Thoughts" kicks off with a majestic riff, followed soon afterwards with the key feature of the album, the synths, which in this particular case take on the form of female choirs that fit perfectly to the tracks's flowing majesty.
Emperor's vocalist, guitarist, and co-founder Vegard Sverre "Ihsahn" Tveitan handles all keyboard duties on In The Nightside Eclipse, and he proves right from the beginning that he knew exactly the kind of sound he wanted to transmit with this album, because "Into The Infinity Of Thoughts" alone can essentially describe what Epic Black Metal is all about, or at least, what it was originally intended to sound like. For all the album's dreamy and epic scenery, Ihsahn makes sure it doesn't get too out of hand, with his sinister snarling vocals keeping the listener attentive.
The next song is "The Burning Shadows Of Silence" which trades awe and wonder for a bit more aggression, almost sounding like something off Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in parts, but the fascinating dreamy atmosphere and landscapes soon return with the following song, "Cosmic Keys To My Creations And Times", drawing the best characteristics from each of the first two tracks, and it's from this point onwards where the mix of all the beautiful elements on In The Nightside Eclipse really begins to shine through, because one has already been accustomed to the synth-backed aspects of the music and can enjoy focusing on the bigger picture.
I won't spoil the rest of the album for you, but the level of sheer quality is maintained right up until the end, with special mention to "I Am The Black Wizards", an established Black Metal anthem of sorts, being one of Emperor's most famous songs but only one of many excellent tracks on the album.
That said, although each song is certainly distinguishable from each other, more than half of them can be considered stand out tracks, with particular emphasis on "Into The Infinity Of Thoughts", "Cosmic Keys To My Creations And Times", "The Majesty Of The Nightsky", "I Am The Black Wizards" and "Inno A Satana". Then again, this is just personal preference and everyone will surely find their own favourite songs on the masterpiece that is In The Nightside Eclipse.
What other albums sound similar to this?
In order to find albums similar to Emperor's In The Nightside Eclipse, you have to keep in mind that there is a very fine path that an Epic Black Metal album's sound can follow without losing any of it's consistency or quality. Should it stray too much to either side, as countless bands have done, it will all sound either overly saturated by cheesy keyboards and operatic effects as is the case with the majority of Dimmu Borgir's albums, or simply cease being Black Metal all together as is the case with most of Cradle Of Filth's recent albums.
However don't give up just yet, obviously there are many great Epic Black Metal albums out there, it just takes some effort to pick out the best ones. First of all, Emperor's next album, the magnificent Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, is a slightly evolved version of In The Nightside Eclipse, with a somewhat cleaner production and more emphasis on the drums, but be warned, each successive Emperor album enhances these characteristics even further and basically lose their musical relation to In The Nightside Eclipse.
As far as other bands go, your best bet is to start off with Dimmu Borgir's 1996 classic Stormblåst, Bal-Sagoth's A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria, Limbonic Art's Moon In The Scorpio, Troll's Drep De Kristne, Behemoth's Sventevith - Storming Near The Baltic, Satyricon's magnum opus Mother North, Setherial's Nord, Kataxu's Hunger Of Elements and Obtained Enslavement's Witchcraft. Then, you could move further along the evolutionary line and check out works by Evilfeast, Ceremonial Castings, Alghazanth, Old Man's Child, Arcturus and Sear Bliss. Finally, you can be brave and give Cradle Of Filth's Dusk And Her Embrace a try, and don't forget to give Abigail William's Becoming a spin while you're at it.
Also, do remember to check out our list of the Best Epic Black Metal Albums for more recommendations.
In a nutshell...
In The Nightside Eclipse is one of Black Metal's true landmark albums, having almost single-handedly created and defined the subgenre of Symphonic or Epic Black Metal in a bold and flawless manner. In almost two decades since In The Nightside Eclipse's release, few bands have been able to improve upon the golden formula presented within, even though there have been literally thousands of attempts at doing so. Make no mistake about it, this is the quintessential Epic Black Metal album which all of today's modern Symphonic and Epic Black Metal bands can trace their ancestry to, and it still sounds as fucking awesome as it did in 1994.
Site Admin - BestBlackMetalAlbums.com
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