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Ah, yes, Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse. Here stands the most revolutionary black metal album ever. In its time where other pioneers such as Burzum and Ulver were laying out there grim ideas backed up by simple guitar with complex chords and chilling keyboards, Emperor stood one step ahead of them with fast and dissonant guitar, complex keyboard rhythms, and mighty blast beats. It really takes quite the genius to not only create your own style of music, but beat the crap out of every band that tries to copy you. Alas, that is why Ishahn is my man crush (sorry Paul Gilbert). Most people ask how is it that the originals of every genre (for example, as Possessed is to death metal) are always the best. Well the way I see it is if you are smart enough to create and pioneer a new form of music, you obviously can create excellent music. This is an album so cold your furnace will explode. This is an album so grim you will never enter a dark forest again. This is an album so satanic; you will take Satan as your guide. Yes, this is every kvlt hater’s most despised album, In the Nightside Eclipse.
What is it that makes this album so special? Isn’t it just raw, repetitive, generic black metal? Wrong. After many listens and much time studying the written music itself one comes to realize the complexity and flow of the music. This album displays such a powerful mood of reverence reflected by the ambient keyboards and full, raw sound. There isn’t just grim lyrics reflecting the power of Satan and the beauty of nature, but the album actually draws the listener into the world beyond humanity. If you truly understand the music, you will be taken to the dark endless hills of Norway, as referred to in “I Am the Black Wizards”. The complex chord progressions were conceived purposely to create the effect of the lyrics. When Ishahn sings about gazing into the sky and its endless swirl of stars, the world we do not understand, and the beauty of the world as it is away from society, and into the fathomless depths of nature, the music reflects this feeling and theme. If you close your eyes at some points in this album you will awake in a world you are not familiar with, fathomless to your mind. You as a listener will not focus on what the musicians are playing, but how the sound combines as a whole.
Together Ishahn and Mortiis created some of the best lyrics I have ever heard. They are extensive and emotional, and reflect their connection to Satan and nature. Inno a Satana is a good example of the Satanism of this album. The lyrics speak of accepting Satan as your guide, as he will guide you through “hatred and strife” and in return you will endlessly serve him. Cosmic Keys to My Creation and Times is a song that represents the beauty and mystery of the unknown world created by forces we do not understand.
Ishahn really knows how to make the thick, ambient effect of black metal. The rhythm guitar and bass play chords that reflect the lead melodies, but are in the background and seem to glide slowly along the surface. At certain points a guitar will play a chord and then tremolo pick a single note, while letting the chord ring out, and this really creates an awesome dissonant effect. The keyboards don’t just sit there and hold out chords, but play eerie and cold melodies, or at least chords that move quickly. The sound projected by them is always a bone chilling symphony sound or a bright choir, displaying some epic feel.
The two best songs on the album are The Majesty of the Night sky and Inno a Satana. The Majesty of the Night sky is a more energetic song with ever so epic keyboards. The blast beats (sorry folks, no Trym) are fastest and most spread out in this song. Midway we get a really cool keyboard lead and a creative catchy beat. This is one of those moments where you feel yourself in a different, more reverent place. Ishahn speaks some of his pretty poetry and it continues a bit. But then the guitar plays by itself and ascends up the whole range of the guitar twice, higher each time, then out of nowhere every instrument is back in with a high energy ending that stops out of nowhere and an explosion rings out and leads into the next track. Inno a Satana is everyone’s favorite song. If you have not heard this song you are not a black metal fan. This is the song that offers yourself over to Satan, asking him to guide you. The lead guitar part is as epic as hell and is backed up by beautiful clean vocals, chilling harsh vocals, and reverent keyboards. At the end of the song we have the greatest minute or two of music history. This conclusion of the album will send chills down your spine and give you goose bumps. First every instrument breaks and the guitar starts picking a cool chord progression, and drops a major step back and forth. The rhythm guitar, bass, and drums join in and the blast beats start up until the end. The harsh vocals continue to shriek and the clean vocals chant “INNO A SATANA”. This continues with the energy building up and up and then the guitars bang out a lovely a minor chord while Ishahn whispers Inno a Satana, with the keyboard holding out the final chord and then fading out. If you are someone who has not heard this song yet, I suggest you do. The ending is really freaking epic.
The opening song is also really cool. It is Emperor’s longest song and has this evil mood to it and an awesome chord progression. It is the perfect opening track, with fast guitars, many breaks and transitions, and eerie lyrics.
So why is this album so good despite the fact it is just old and experimental black metal? Well, it really beats the crap out of every other black metal band. I have yet to find any black metal band, except for Bishop of Hexen, that creates music as good as this. This is the epitome of black metal and shall be loved forever and ever. This is a must have for your metal collection, especially if you are a black metal fan. Don’t worry, this isn’t your generic kvlt crap band, such as darkthrone, this is epic and excellent music.