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[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.