Emperor
In the Nightside Eclipse


5.0
classic

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
May 27th, 2007 | 64 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


Some bands are generally accepted as good bands. You can count on them to deliver good album after good album, with a generally high quality discography, but some flaws here and there. You have great bands, who do that and get recognition for it. And you have bands that are just so good that they have become immortal.

Emperor, with their first full-length release In The Nightside Eclipse, are one such band. Never has the bar for black metal quality has been set any higher than with this release. The guitars banish, the drums are lucky to be whole after the thrashing they've been given by Faust, the keyboards add just that extra symphonic and melodic tinge to the violence and Ihsahn screeches like never before, a Satanist troll from Norway. Everything that made the genre so popular with the metalhead community is to be found here, and more.

Admittedly the production and sound quality is rather poor and raw (though not on the absymal levels of Darkthrone), and it makes the guitars sound a little thin, but it's better than anything their contemporaries did. Admittedly the music is more an act of violence, aggression and fury (the guitars you'll hear have the subtlety of the asphalt when you're in free fall) than it is crafted for its complexity, but Emperor's innovativity lies not in what had already been done by the rest of the black metallers. It lies in the atmospheres of cold-blooded darkness they create with the symphonic overtones in this album. Never do the keyboards dominate, however; they are just high up enough in the mix to be discerned and admired but they never water down the album quality or drown out the standard black metal elements.

Of course, there are some minor qualms with the album: the lyrics are monotonously about darkness and Satanism. This isn't hindering in any way, because you can't hear anything Ihsahn is trying to say through his incomprehensible troll screeches which (thank god) are put low in the mix. Most black metal bands emphasise their vocals; Emperor doesn't, which on the whole is a wise decision.

The band also isn't huge on changing up the tempo. The band remains fast, furious, and brutal all the way through the album, occasionally moving down into slower rhythms but never abandoning the aural bombardment they create with their instruments. The album may seem repetitive and long-winded at first, therefore; but the trick is to not focus on the music and let yourself be sucked into the album. You'll feel like you're in Norway burning some churches, too.

And in the end this is what sets this album apart from its Norwegian peers. Where other acts descended into self-parodic overkill (Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth), managed to get themselves locked up in prison, like Burzum (although Samoth and Faust managed to do this too; however the quality of Emperor's work never suffered at the hands of it), or are just plain horrendously incriminating pieces of dissonant ear destruction (Mayhem, Darkthrone), Emperor succeeded in making an album that unifies all the good things about black metal into one, solid, coherent album without sounding like gimmicks of themselves. And for that, Emperor will always be hailed as the band that set the standards and wrote the rulebook for Black Metal.



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user ratings (1176)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheHamburgerman
May 27th 2007


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't like this album

antihippy
May 27th 2007


696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5



i wanted to be the second person to do this review. :upset:

ah well, nevermind. i'll still write one.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
May 27th 2007


2125 Comments


I actually love this album, it's pretty much perfect. They seem to get everything just right with it that no other black metal band I've heard has been able to come close to.

Eakflanderyof
May 27th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is an amazing album. I don't agree with the part about Darkthrone being just noise, though. I didn't like Darkthrone at first either, but they grew on me.

Pretty good review, but I don't understand. You don't like the vocals, but you gave it a 5? I mean, the vocals may be lower in the mix, but they're still a pretty large part of the music. If you love it, though, that's all that matters.

I wouldn't say that Emperor wrote the rulebook for black metal. That goes to Burzum This Message Edited On 05.27.07

Altmer
May 27th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The vocals aren't good, but I don't mind them.

antihippy
May 27th 2007


696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

plus i thought the production is great, gave the album a really atmospheric feel to it.

Confessed2005
May 27th 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Superb review for an astounding black metal album.

Really cannot wait to see Emperor live this summer.

Slaapkamers
May 27th 2007


596 Comments


I wouldn't say that Emperor wrote the rulebook for black metal. That goes to Burzum


uh, not really

Cravinov13
May 27th 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

they wrote the rulebook for symphonic black metal.

rattlehead42147
May 27th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

and emperor is the only band i know of that can do symphonic BM and not make it cliche like Dimmu or Cradle. good review.
ive listened to this cd at work about 5 or 6 times in the past 2 weeks and it keeps growing on me. i love all the songs, and the two covers are amazing. A fine day to die is my fav. bathory song and emperor nailed it, all the solos, as well as MF's Gypsy. An outstanding album through and through. I think i will hunt down anthems to the welkin now.This Message Edited On 05.27.07

Eakflanderyof
May 27th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

uh, not really


Yea, you're right actually. Burzum was too experimental to be considered the rulebook writer. I'd have to say a more standard black metal band like Darkthrone would fit that bill.

masscows
May 27th 2007


2236 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't listen to much black metal, but didn't Venom start the genre...?

Cravinov13
May 27th 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yes, but they are not actual black metal.

rattlehead42147
May 27th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

here comes the standard black metal debate. these reviews get more comments from that than over the review itself :p

Tyler
Emeritus
May 27th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's because these albums have been done to death. Importance debates are really all these reviews warrant at this point.

Thor
May 27th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This should be the default review. It's great.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

Wizard
May 27th 2007


19641 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, short and sweet! Its funny how you decided to do a review on this album because I was listening to this yesterday. Ive been on a bit of a Emperor binge lately. Hands down 'Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk' is their best cd. That is probably debatable on Sputnikmusic.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2007


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've never heard this before, and from the looks of the ratings here I think I should check it out.

Tyler
Emeritus
May 27th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's pretty good.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2007


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretty stunning when you first hear it but it wears off



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