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Excellent - 90%

Iron Wizard, February 27th, 2016

Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse is a very strange album. It represents the bridge between that raw, traditional black metal of bands like Darkthrone and Mayhem, and the dramatically overproduced symphonic black metal of Dimmu Borgir. In the Nightside Eclipse is definitely a symphonic black metal album. In fact, it is the first black metal album to go this far with symphonic keyboards.

The first thing that really jumps out at me with this album is its production. It is extremely raw, the guitars, bass, drums, synthesizers, and vocals come together into one huge storm of noise. The album has a very full sound to it, despite the thin, buzzsaw guitars. The noise heard on this album is in no way unpleasant. It is very atmospheric, and also quite interesting to hear.

The synthesizer parts on In the Nightside Eclipse are fairly prominent, and definitely a new thing for black metal at the time, but they do not take over the mix like they do with bands like Dimmu Borgir. The guitars are by far the most prominent in the mix, with the keyboards layered over top for added atmospheric effect. The guitar riffing itself is excellent. Most of the riffing is quite fast, with a few slower parts scattered here and there. "I am the Black Wizards" "The Burning Shadows of Silence" both contain some of black metal's most memorable guitar riffs. Looking at the technical side of things, the guitar playing is actually not that technical. The riff writing is great, but the playing is relatively messy.

Faust is well known for his fast, intricate drum beats involving various blastbeats and fills. His talents are showcased relatively well on In the Nightside Eclipse. The drums could be slightly higher in the mix, as he is playing some really cool parts that really deserve to be heard more.

Ihsahn is a really odd vocalist. He shrieks the lyrics in an indecipherable way. "The Burning Shadows of Silence" has some great harmonized screams that are somewhat unsettling. While his vocals may be a bit unconventional, and "disgusting" sounding, he is definitely great at creating a creepy feeling with his voice.

To summarize In the Nightside Eclipse, it is good, but not quite a masterpiece.