Review Summary: A brief burst of Satan-loving, fantastically blasphemous fun.
It comes once every year: that time that the leaves, a brilliant orange, fall from the branches, the trees now but a sickly skeleton. Snow, soft and powdery, descends from the sky and shrouds the ground, with the iced earth and cloudy, somber sky blending into one infinite shade of grey. Aside from men, safely harbored in shelters of stone, little life remains, with only the occasional evergreen enlivening the barren landscape. At this time, people are split into two distinct groups: the one turning on the radio to hear the hackneyed carols yet another time, the other taking out a dusty disc labeled “Agalloch” or “Dissection”, eagerly awaiting to experience the wintry barrage of tritones again. If you happen to fall in the latter category, then it would be a disservice to yourself to not include Necrophobic’s Darkside
in your list of wintry listening.
takes the best elements of Christ-hating death metal and the best elements of Christ-hating black metal, and blends them together, with a few occasional progressive and melodic elements thrown into the mix. Delightfully evil-sounding, tremolo-picked chords, often laced with first-unnoticeable melodies, form the majority of the riffs, yet they never become monotonous, largely due to the of frequent inclusion a subtle atmospheric keyboard, melodic lead, or churning grind of Autopsy-esque chords to create variety.
In addition, Darkside
is filled with a fair amount of unusually melodic segment, with the most obvious examples are the two piano-led interludes: Vanesectio and Descension. Unlike their contemporaries, Necrophobic did not strive to create an overbearingly haunting or ominous mood through these pieces, which makes them so much more memorable than the aimless, supposedly-atmospheric, meanderings penned by the likes of Argentum. What’s interesting is that this affinity for melody sometimes ends up manifesting itself in the actual songs. This is particularly evident in Nifelhel, whose melodies give the piece an exceptionally sinister feel, but can also be seen in the sparsely-used acoustic guitars and basses that skillfully work their way into some of the harsher numbers.
Lyrically, the album is a much more orthodox black metal release than it is musically, and the stereotypical themes of Satan’s power, the sacrifice of Christians to increase Satan’s power, and the rising of moons above deep forests are all that the listener will be able to find here. This is somewhat disappointing and underwhelming, especially when one considers the relatively-inventive approach to the genre that can be seen in the music.
is certainly worthy of the attention of everyone that has ever dreamed of worshiping the dark forces while basking in the rays of the blasphemous moon. In other words, blackened death metal doesn’t get much better than this.
Black Moon Rising