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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.