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There are two Swedish death metal albums that I absolutely worship and can't imagine life without them. You can erase everything else, but not these two LPs. "The Nocturnal Silence" is first of the two. The other one is titled "Like an Ever Flowing Stream". Of course I remember also about the other Swedish masterpieces - I'm not denying the greatness of "Left Hand Path", "Into the Grave" or "Seeming Salvation". But those two albums I've mentioned in the beginning are for me the most brilliant and perfect; only "Altars of Madness" and "Testimony of the Ancients" can rival them. That's my opinion and whether you agree or not, I don't give a shit.
So, Necrophobic... The band didn't come out of nowhere... Two cool demo tapes and killer EP gave them a strong background. But even though I love the second demo and EP, I just couldn't expect they'll be able to deliver such a stunning recording. "The Nocturnal Silence" is an album, that has been perfected in every detail and each song from it is able to give me thrills. I think one of the major winning aspect of the album is the fact how strong melodically it is, but without ending sugarry or boring. Basically most of the riffs are melodic, but the thing is they're also savage, aggressive, catchy, thus Necrophobic created an overwhelming, dark atmosphere. I can't believe how catchy the album is, but at the same time it has this cold, sinister, satanic feeling that freezes my blood. It's evil to the bone. One fine example is the title song, with its slow opening melody, which quickly transforms into fast, uncompromising riffing. Simple, but how well executed and composed. The band delivers a well diversified music, with very brutal and aggressive tracks like "Inborn Evil" and songs more focused on melody like "Awakening..." or "Unholy Prophecies". Or the best song from the album, killer "The Ancients Gate". Even if the whole album is played in mid tempos, or even has slight Cemetary's "An Evil Shade of Grey" feeling here and there, no way it's boring or monotonous. It completely the opposite - it draws attention and devours like a beast that just crawled out from the abyss.
The performance of every band member is really good, but I must say that the guitar playing of David Parland is just top quality; he's amazing and I can feel what he later transformed into much faster and unrelenting black metal style of Dark Funeral. His leads - like the one in "Sacrificial Rites" or "Before the Dawn" - are fantastic and only David Blomqvist equals him! Then there's also brilliant work of the vocalist Anders Strokirk, who's been new in the band and lasted only one year, but as much as I also like the present vocalist, Tobias, Anders had amazing voice, that fitted perfectly to Necrophobic style and Swedish death metal (remember he also contributed to such bands as Hetsheads and Mykorrhiza, but it's not the same league). I'm not sure whether he's also responsible for the lyrics, I don't think so, but they're some of the most satanic and evil texts ever written in the Swedish death metal scene.
Soundwise you know the shit well... It's pretty standard Sunlight Studios production, close to what they've also done to bands like Epitaph. But I just love this sound, especially they way guitars cut like razor sharp knives. Even the drums sound better that on the average Sunlight recording... So, any weaknesses of "The Nocturnal Silence"? Nope. I like it the way it is and as I already mentioned this is the masterpiece and classic no one will ever be able to rival.
Necrophobic has always been on of the most consistent Swedish death metal bands, but that’s not what sets them apart from their contemporaries. What sets them apart is that they’re one of the first bands to pioneer the blackened death metal sound that’s so prevalent today. Many people like to credit fucking Behemoth for this, but fuck that, Necrophobic did it first and have always done it better. Their debut, The Nocturnal Silence, is a classic Swedish death metal album that masterfully takes their death metal sound and mixes in some black metal riffing to create a wonderfully dark sound.
This isn’t a “fast” album by any means. It’s mostly mid-tempo stuff, actually, but that tempo is what really defines the atmosphere in my opinion. The riffs here either of the catchy variety, the doomy, drawn out variety, or the classic tremolo-picked variety. The termolo picked riffs are the most interesting ones here because some of these sound more like black metal riffs than death metal riffs for some reason, and with the relatively constant mid-tempo speed of the music, they’re presence and contribution to the overall atmosphere is more noticeable.
Of course, another important aspect of this album is how melodic it is. There are a lot of catchy riffs and leads which Necrophobic heavily emphasizes by letting everything else take a back seat when they’re present. Seriously, this is some of the catchiest Swedish death metal out there! The solos are mostly on the slower, melodic side as well, with lots of emphasis on mood and very little emphasis on being “fast” or “brutal.” On the contrary, this album is about being evil and dark instead, which is why the black metal riffs work so well with the death metal parts of the album. Unlike bad melodic death metal albums, The Nocturnal Silence has the melody and and the soft interludes that just add to the dark atmosphere rather than detract from it. The melody here just makes this album sound fucking evil.
The vocals are another highlight of Necrophobic’s sound. They’re of the higher, raspier style (i.e., what you’d hear from a Florida death metal band), but they sound a bit more gruff than the most vocalists who use this style. Whatever it is, these vocals really work wonders. If anything, I’m reminded a lot of the vocals on Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness, which is a comparison that most bands should strive to attain. These are like those vocals, but more black metal-oriented. The vocal delivery on this album is really nothing short of stellar. Every line sounds genuinely evil, and this is the icing on this death metal cake of awesomeness.
I can’t help but compare this to At the Gates’ only good album, The Red it the Sky is Ours. Despite shit-tastic production, that album had a lot of basic elements in common with The Nocturnal Silence. The main difference is that Necrophobic was able to incorporate different influences to craft an entirely new, evil sound, whereas At the Gates let the melodic influences limit what they could do with their music. Sure, The Red in the Sky is Ours is a good album, but The Nocuturnal SIlence does everything it does, minus the violin crap, better. One important point of comparison in my opinion is the vocals on both albums. Both are very emotive, but the one of The REd in the Sky is Ours is a bit unrefined. Sure, that unrefined quality adds to the charm of it, but it doesn’t quite add to the atmosphere like the ones on The Nocturnal Silence do. Summary: if you’re looking for a dark, melodic, and fucking evil-sounding death metal album, look no further than The Nocturnal Silence.
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/
There are classic albums and there are cult albums. The Nocturnal Silence is both, one of the best early statements of the Swedish death metal uprising of the early to mid 90s. Unlike a Left Hand Path though, this one wasn't an instant personal attraction. It took several years to develop on me, but one drunken evening I was listening to it with a friend at university and it suddenly dawned on me...this is awesome.
Necrophobic tend towards the occult side of the death metal spectra, with grim lyrics about hell and vile philosophies. They have a similar guitar tone to their contemporaries, but otherwise do not sound quite the same as far as how they present their riffs. I once thought this album was a rambling mess, but it is in fact pinpoint in its delivery of grinding guitars and the barking of ex-vocalist Anders Strokirk. The album is produced by the infamous Tomas Skogsberg so you know what to expect.
As a complete work The Nocturnal Silence is extremely consistent, each of the nine tracks destroys. "Awakening" begins with some spooky keyboards, soon joined by some slower leads before the churning guitars herald the apocalypse. Simple old school death rhythms commence a dark mood on the diabolic "Before the Dawn". "Unholy Prophecies" has a few rhythms which recall Slayer when they were good. The title track begins with haunted acoustics, again building into a grim lead melody. "Inborn Evil" has a slower groove to it, while "The Ancient's Gate" starts with the sickest groove on the album. Also of note are the barbaric and fast-paced "Sacrificial Rites" and the creepy "Where Sinners Burn".
Though the album has been remastered, it still sounds great in its original form. There is nothing overly polished about it, it simply manages to retain a dark intonation that many death metal albums only wish they could have. So often we forget what the pure evil of this genre used to sound like, jaded from endless overdubbed albums with focus on technical precision to the detriment of atmosphere. The Nocturnal Silence remains my favorite of Necrophobic's albums, and a true relic of extreme Swedish metal.
This isn’t the darkest, most evil album I’ve ever heard, but Necrophobic always had a knack for creating some twisted shit. Sinful while at the same time melodic, this band blends well the traits of black metal into death metal. Therefore, tremolo and a razor-like guitar tone is the par for the course, with vocals tortured and drums you can expect more on the stomping end than the prancing one. Every song here is a stab against all that is holy or a virgin; a wise choice of enemies.
It’s difficult to identify the better vocalist: Anders or future frontman Tobias. Both have mutilated growls and terrifying screams full of agony, both share no mercy for the weak, and I believe their voices add a spiritual touch to the despicable style of Parland. Parland himself doesn’t let up once on the riffs – reminding me of Morbid Angel if they got their shit together. The riffs here are fast and depraved or thrashy and vile – very sharp, but not thin or thick like Dismember’s chainsaw distortion. Drums follow along with blast beasts, checkered timing, and fun beats to drive along with. Solos aren’t sparse, but they aren’t showstoppers either; more emphasis is given to the evoking, blasphemous essence of song build-ups.
For instance, the title track (my favorite on the album), broods into hellish territory with the most malevolent clean guitar prod I’ve ever heard. It’s so nasty that I imagine Satan using it as a battle anthem for his offensive against Heaven. Picture that: hordes of demons and all other evil shitlings storming the gates – laying waste, raped angels, and a final battle to end all battles. The sound of the drums is clear, though the double bass is buried pretty badly. I hoped to have a little more chunkiness from it, since the hats and toms are perfect sounding for this music. Atmosphere also I wish was a little bit more haunting like Immortalis’ album.
That may be asking a little much, since herein the riffs are enough to carry the album. “Inborn Evil” and “The Ancients Gate” both are fantastic follow-ups to the title track, delving into cross-grumbling classical lead riffs, proving that melody can be induced effectively without sacrificing grit and style. I’m surprised that bass isn’t more prominent in the music; you really can’t hear it all that well. Not that it kills the music or anything, but the album could have been more wicked had the bass been bumped up.
Lastly, that cover art should have been scrapped. The colors are all good: red, purple, and black are a great combination, but that just looks way too cartoony. Now Darkside… that utilized these three colors damn well, but we’ll get to that later.
This album is probably best described as the Swedish version of Altars of Madness. Some of you might be scratching your heads at that, but what I mean is not so much in the actual music itself but the aesthetic that it creates. Relying less on fast paced brutal blasting, and more on creating atmosphere with eerie melodies. The production has that typical Swedish death metal sound, clear and dry, the guitars are a tad fuzzy but are very well defined, creating a dark atmosphere. Most of the riffs are tremolo picked melodies, in fact it's almost all tremolo riffs. The drums are great and varied, a lot of credit should be given to their drummer as he ties this evil masterpiece together wonderfully. The vocals are not quite a shout, not quite a growl, and sound a bit like early David Vincent, and they are very well done. Lots of blasphemous hate is spewed out of the mouth of their singer. There is the occasional spoken word, and a well placed scream here and there to accentuate certain passages. The lyrics are pure evil blasphemy, and are surprisingly well written. Hell I can't write lyrics this good, and English is my first language, so I have no excuse.
Every track on this album is great, there is absolutely no filler at all, even the short instrumental retains the eerie atmosphere nicely. There are even some moments of progression, like on "Before the Dawn" which contains some piano and spoken word, which is intermingled very nicely with the heavy music going on under it. In fact, I wish there were more moments like that on the disc....Heh, I never would have thought I would be asking for MORE piano from a death metal band. Another reviewer mentioned lack of guitar solos as a down side, and I agree completely. When they do show up they are absolutely wonderful, but they are few and far between, and often are very short(maybe 20 seconds of a 5 minute song.) The album does a great job of constantly changing, and keeping things varied.
Some death metal fans may find this album to be too slow and monotonous, and I can see that, because it's more or less true. I don't think there's a blast beat on the entire disc, there are only maybe 2 songs that could be described as being fast, and the vocals aren't growled in the vein of Chris Barnes. But trust me, this album is fucking heavy and down right evil!
[i]The Nocturnal Silence[/i] is the first full-length L.P. from Sweden's Necrophobic. The album was recorded in Sunlight Studio in Stockholm, in March 1993. It was produced by Necrophobic and Tomas Skogsberg. Despite being recorded in this well-known studio, the album definitely has its own atmosphere and is not typical of most Swedish Death Metal.
The band was formed in 1989, and had gained much attention through the release of two demos, [i]Slow Asphyxiation[/i] and [i]Unholy Prophecies[/i]. The stood out from the mass of bands in Stockholm by possessing a bit more technical skill and also featuring less guttural vocals. Anders Stokirk utilizes a style similar to Masse Broberg of Hypocrisy, but not as deep. The style of vocals, some of the riffs, and the lyrical content have more of a Black Metal feel than the usual Stockholm sound.
The album begins with a short keyboard intro, that could easily fit in a horror movie. The slow, creepy riff that follows really sets the mood for the album. Then, in typical Slayer fashion, Hell is unleashed. "Awakening..." is a pretty fast-paced opening track. The musicianship is high quality and David Parland's guitar work is excellent. His is an easily identifiable sound, no matter what band he plays in. The first song already displays a decent variety of speeds. The production is very good, being clear enough to hear everything well but also raw enough to convey the right feeling.
The albums continues on with blasphemy and an ever-darkening atmosphere. "Before the Dawn", especially the slower riffs with the brief spoken passage, was very successful in creating an evil feeling. This album really seems positioned in between Black and Death Metal, as it doesn't entirely belong to one or the other. This may be the first album of its kind. As the album progresses, "Unholy Prophecies" features more of the same Hellish aura that has been produced thus far. However, at certain points, one would expect things to really speed up but it never quite gets fast enough. This is only a minor complaint.
One of the real gems of this album is the title track, "The Nocturnal Silence." The acoustic intro and the brilliant solo that starts the song really imbues the listener with visions of the full moon in the blackened night sky. Then, the Satanic ritual begins as the song takes off. The vocalist sounds as if his throat has been shredded by broken glass and the result is very good. The song has a certain doomy quality, until things speed up. Here, the fast tremolo riffs dominate. It is a real shame that many people are unacquainted with this album, as it is a true classic. Parland's "nocturnal" solo near the end is perfect as well. There really is little or nothing to complain about when it comes to this album. This song is definitely one of the highlights.
There's a story that has to be told regarding this album...
On every back cover and in every booklet of this release (not the re-release from 2002), it says that track 5 is a song called "Shadows of the Moon". That song is ONLY on the american pressing, licenced by Cargo Records and is only pressed in a few thousand copies and is extremely rare. On all other copies, track 5 is a song called "Inborn Evil". The story is that after the recording of this album, the band felt that "Inborn Evil" didn't get the right feeling as they wanted and decided to drop that song from the album. Then, in the mastering session, the wrong song got dropped, the instrumental song "Shadows of the Moon". The booklet and covers were already made and the band didn't find out about this error until they heard the finished album. They demanded that the error should be fixed and did a second mastering with the right track list. There is also another version of the title track "The Nocturnal Silence" on the second mastering version where the intro to is fading in.
For some reason, the second mastering were only pressed once and that is the American pressing, licenced by Cargo Records. This is how the band wanted the album to be. It's now an extremely rare item...
From the demonic voices in the beginning to the brilliant solo that follows, "The Ancients Gate" proves to be a real classic. For a song to stand out on an album filled with such greatness truly means something. The oldschool drum beat in "Father of Creation" really evokes the old gods. This is certainly a band with roots in the early metal bands. Some influences can be detected, yet Necrophobic have a sound all their own and this was established early on. Finally, "Where Sinners Burn", begins with a great solo. Like much of the album, it possesses many speeds and it is dripping with evil. This song closes the album out properly.
[i]The Nocturnal Silence[/i] is an incredibly strong debut album. This shows the value on toiling in the underground, playing shows and recording demos before putting together an album. Not only is the musicianship excellent, the songwriting was well thought-out and Necrophobic easily achieved what they set out to do. This is a classic piece of Satanic Death Metal history and one of the best albums to ever be recorded at Sunlight Studio.
Necrophobic have been around for as long as I have (18 years). To me, Necrophobic have always been a black metal band. The reason for this was, until last night, I hadn't heard anything from Necrophobic which could be classed as "death metal" and in fairness, this is their only full-length which is closest to death metal.
When I got this album, I was expecting a real blast. My reaction was similar to: "Alright! Necrophobic! This is gonna be a solid piece of black metal." However, my reaction at the end was some what different. As soon as the vocals on this album started, I knew this wasn't going to be black metal, rather blackened death metal. This album really was the first of its kind. It seems almost unintentionally that Necrophobic created this. Obviously, before this release, they were making full, solid death metal but when they started recording this, black metal started to influence them. Thus we get death metal with black metal influences hence: blackened death metal.
As stated above, it seems almost unintentionally they released the genre defining album of blackened death metal. The guitar riffs on here sound very much like death metal ala bands such as Bloodbath. Usually, heavy and fast. The riffs are usually fairly complex and the songs have a lot of variety in them, so you won’t get bored listening to them.
The soloing here was excellent. David Parland in my opinion is a great guitarist, so it's no wonder that the solos kick so much ass. Necrophobic have always been a band that have great solos. The solos on this album are long, skillful and epic and sound a lot like the stuff you'd hear on a black metal album. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying death metal solos are devoid of talent. Just listen to Blood Red Throne if you need proof of this but the solos on here really do sound like the stuff you're going to find on a black metal album. Probably the reason for this is because Dave was involved with the Swedish black metal band Dark Funeral, whom he left this band for.
The vocals are the epitome of blackened death. They are in the midpoint between black metal and death metal. He does a decent job, let me just say he's a lot better than Tobias Sidegård who is, at best, a pretty mediocre black metal vocalist (by the time he took over vocal duties, Necrophobic were playing black metal.)
The production is between, big budget production and the raw production of black metal. This seems to be one of the black metal influences on this album. The production probably was some sort of bridge between the true genres if you will. From decent production to raw production.
I can now understand why this band calls themselves death metal. As stated before, up until now, I always considered Necrophobic to be a black metal band. However, it really is ridiculous that people still call them death metal; after all, Hrimthrusum was a black metal album, pure and simple. After The Nocturnal Silence, Necrophobic would move onto to become a black metal band (if you need proof just listen to Darkside). Even here, the black metal elements are noticeable, e.g. the song names, the artwork, solos. Why Necrophobic became black metal who knows, perhaps it was subtle and they didn't really notice it. Or maybe because, at the time, "It was normal in European countries for black metal enthusiasts to terrorize other notable death metal bands that were touring” (source Wikipedia). This album was released in 1993, so that's still when the Black Circle was around and they did have members in Sweden (notably Jon from Dissection). Whatever, the reason, this is a solid piece of blackened death metal, which really did, go onto define a genre.
Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase.
“Melody” is such a controversial concept. A parcel like it a lot, and others just can’t stand it. That’s because, when used in the wrong way, it will turn into a powerful screw-up agent to the music. Traditional heavy metal works great with some melodic ideas. It’s also a present factor in some thrash bands like Heathen. However, its relation with death metal is often dismissed (or hated). Some DM bands have that concept in full domain, and others simply overdo it and we end up with albums like “A Banquet in Darkness”.
In my opinion, melody should not be involved in a musical genre that was meant to be violent and unrelenting. But “The Nocturnal Silence” proves to be an exception. This cd was not meant to be brutal, but dark. The drum work, empty of blastbeats and other features of standard death metal violence proves that. The vocals are much more in the black metal territory, instead of the standard death metal growls. The emphasis here is in the evil sounding DM riffs, with their particular grinding sound, trademark of every death metal album. Good production provides that crunchy sound to the riffs. Speaking of those, they are not banal in any way, with some complexity, never sounding boring or over-technical.
This band has a nice eye for melody. The prevalent guitar style is blended with some great melody touches, which unlike most bands today, are not annoying or cheesy in any way. There are melodic riffs, acoustic interludes and pretty good soloing. No happy, Holymarsh-like annoyances are to be found here. It’s all somber and dark (including those spoken passages…”I believe in the dark lord”), exactly how the album theme (all things eeevil) demands.
The soloing is purely melodic. They are pretty good sounding, but lacking in length. This is one of this CD’s weaknesses. The lead guitarist should be more present, considering the length of the songs (around 4 and 6 minutes), which provides time enough for more elaborated solos. No matter how short they are, the excellence is there. My favorite is that one at “Where the Sinners Burn”.
The songs are pretty diverse in their structures. Speed, midpaced crunches, acoustic interludes are all here. “Sacrificial Rites” alternates those in a very intelligent way. “Awakening” is pure guitar delight. The album seems to lose a little bit of its power by the end, but nothing significant enough to hamper the progress.
All in all, “The Nocturnal Silence” meshes DM and melody in a very good, entertaining way. Recommended.
"The Nocturnal Silence" represents something of a pivotal moment in the history of Swedish death metal. It was the last of the great albums to emerge from the death metal movement which sprung up surrounding Sunlight Studios, the logical development of a lineage including bands like God Macabre and Afflicted. At the same time, they pioneered techniques which, in the hands of less capable artists, led to terminally mediocre albums like "Storm of the Light's Bane."
Necrophobic's pedigree is certainly evident, with the doomy passages and narrative structures characteristic of early Swedish death metal in full display. What sets "The Nocturnal Silence" apart from other albums in the style is the band's awareness of contemporary developments in the Norse black metal movement, and their ability to incorporate lessons learned from Burzum, DarkThrone and Immortal within the framework of Stockholm death. A fast tremelo strum is the predominant riffing style, alternating occasionally with thunderous downpicked reversions and slowly picked arpeggios. Melodic interplay had long been a staple of the Swedish scene, but hitherto, it had been almost an incidental element. However, melodies are not only abundant here, they are fully articulated through both riffing and the (superb) leadwork and incorporated as a fundamental rather than incidental element. Combined with the fluid, ambient percussion lines (part of the aforementioned Norse influence), this lends an air of the epic to otherwise relatively compact (4-6 minute) compositions. The production sizzles with energy and heft, though it is somewhat less low end oriented than the typical Sunlight job (which enhances the melodic elements and the ambient feel of the album).
This album has been rated "Buy or Die" by Mornelithe Falconsbane.