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Vileness against idle mode - 68%

Felix 1666, February 17th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Black Mark Production

Let's come straight to the point and face the facts: "Darkside" lacks substance and here comes the list of fillers. "Spawned by Evil", already released on the eponymous EP, reappears and calm instrumentals do not add value to the album. The third track is an emotional intermezzo. It is dominated by a piano which is supported by some cellos. The same applies for the seventh piece. Finally, "Nifelhel" marks the third instrumental and it sounds lame, rather uninspired and the guitar lines pass by without leaving an impact. Thus, one has to be aware that the album is not able to create an intensive listening experience - and roughly ten minutes stretch the playtime of "Darkside". To add insult to injury, the greatest nonsense is yet to come. I am speaking of "Nema", Amen in reverse. Very satanic, indeed, and further five minutes are a complete waste of time.

However, the regular tracks (including "Spawned by Evil") express the true attitude of the Swedish masters of blackened death metal. "Darkside" would have been an outstanding EP. Extremely fast and without making experiments, the band rushes through its compositions. The short running time of some songs - six of them do not exceed the four minutes mark - may give you an idea of the tempo that the Swedes prefer. This does not mean that mid-paced parts are forbidden. Alas, they are not always convincing. The fairly powerless "Bloodthirst" serves as proof in this context. Yet this remains an isolated case. The mid-tempo beginning of the title track is grimmer and more vicious. The vigorous production does the rest. Necrophobic present an album with a punchy sound and Tobbe Sidegård, who has been promoted to the lead vocalist, shows that he is able to manage this new task. His mean voice matches the musical vileness very well.

The riffing is similar to that of the debut. In terms of sharp, precisely cutting riffs, Necrophobic get the hang on it. Guess this is nothing new, but the dominant feature of "Darkside" has to be mentioned. Inter alia the ferocious "Nailing the Holy One" mirrors the fact that Necrophobic do not lose control, even if the fury of the composition borders on barbarism and total abandon. A good song, no doubt about it, but do not expect the unholy, inscrutable depth of their later efforts such as "Shadowseeds", "I Strike with Wrath" or "For Those Who Stay Satanic". Even the fairly opulent last regular track cannot compete with these monsters. Compared with the classics of the later albums, the here presented songs suffer a tiny little bit from their flat design. Please keep in mind that this is still a pretty good album, yet in view of the enormous options of the musicians, the here reviewed work causes mixed feelings. To say nothing of the booklet. It is disfigured with an infantile picture which sends greetings to the forefathers of the so-called Islamic State. Subtlety is not among the strengths of the band - and the full-length from 1997 is, despite a handful of really exciting tracks, not among the best works of the group. Quite the opposite, "Darkside" brings up the rear.

Makes Emperor look intensely stupid - 90%

TrooperEd, November 3rd, 2016

If you were to do a Family Feud category of "death metal bands that made a successful transition to black metal," #1 on that survey would of course be Darkthrone. For a reason that can only be described best as "Not having Sharon Osbourne as a manager," Necrophobic gets completely forgotten in that shuffle, but they very much deserve the #2 spot on that survey. It's very unfair, particularly since this does a much better job of keeping the unholy black flame pure unlike their contemporaries Anthems To The Welkin at Dusk and Eld. While those albums weren't awful, they were only propelled to the forefront as a result of the power vacuum initiated from Euronymous' death, Varg's jailing, and 85% of black metal's jailing. Often times people forget "Big 4" deals with notoriety and commercial success, rather than the unfortunately subjective realm of acclaim.

Which isn't to say Necrophobic was free of their own drama. David Parland also made this transition but he preferred to make the move by leaving one band and forming Dark Funeral. He does hang around a bit for this album, providing songwriting and leads, but a sizeable chunk of Darkside is Tobias, Joakim, Martin and Sebastian left to their own devices. But seeing as how they were young, hungry, and itching to put something out after 4 years of LP silence, this lineup of Necrophobic proves to be quite the chemical meltdown. One would think they would have stuck to Nocturnal Silence part 2 partially out of spite, but no, it turns out they would follow Parland's guidance to the black realm and stay there for quite a long time.

It's fascinating how this lineage of hi-fidelity-yet-melodic-black metal reveals itself as a path not only between albums, but different bands. Next time you have an afternoon free to yourself listen to Somberlain, Storm of the Light's Bane, Far Away From The Sun and then that order (follow it up with Third Antichrist and Bloodhymns if you've got extra stamina to burn). Usually such duplication is frowned upon in music but here its not only condoned, but supported by peers! "Nailing The Holy One" features lead vocals from none other than Jon Nodviedt himself, though its executed more in a duet fashion on the chorus rather than an entire guest lead performance. Likely one of the last, if not the last musical contribution he made before his incarceration. The songs themselves are much shorter, more violent blasts of black metal than anything mentioned in the previous albums up to this point, but as long as no critical components are left out, short and sweet is hardly a bad thing.

Special mention has to go to penultimate closer instrumental Nifehel, which is one of the best metal instrumentals I've ever heard. It's fairly slow, but infectiously catchy, whilst managing to maintain a menacing, morbid mood leading the listener through the sinister courtyard album's very cover art itself. Sebastian and Martin's guitar lines are slow and tasteful, almost like a possessed, cannibalisticly inclined Eric Clapton, and they are the delicious butter-cream frosting to this birthday cake.

Ye Entrancempriumyass. THIS is the black metal album of 1997. I would love to give it top honors for the whole year, but certain Gamma Ray and Children of Bodom albums stand it its way....

Recommended tracks:
Black Moon Rising
Nailing The Holy One

*Insert Star Wars reference* - 83%

Razakel, August 31st, 2011

1997 wasn’t an ideal time for Swedish black or death metal bands to try and get their stuff out there and get noticed, what with Dissection having just released their two legendary consecutive masterpieces. When Necrophobic put out Darkside, I imagine the rest of the country was still too busy salivating over Storm of the Light’s Bane to give it the attention it rightfully deserved but, thankfully, I get the impression Necrophobic didn’t give much of a shit. Their souls had long been possessed by a greater evil and making this special brand of icy, razor sharp black metal with a hint of death only seemed natural, even if it did sound undeniably quite similar to the godfathers of the scene at the time. The more the merrier, I say, and in retrospect this album has aged beautifully.

The first thing you may notice about this album is the gorgeous cover art. Perhaps not something everyone pays much mind to, but it’s certainly always a bonus to me. Not only is it a lovely painting in its own right, but I can’t help but to find myself staring at it as I listen to the darkness within the music it represents. Just where does that foreboding passage lead? To whom does that sinister fortress belong? What unspeakable sorceries painted the skies above blood red? Note how proud and resolute the Necrophobic logo rests atop. The second thing you might notice is the decidedly simpler album title compared to the 1993 debut, The Nocturnal Silence. Surely they were tempted to name the album after one of the cooler, more blasphemous, song titles like Black Moon Rising or Nailing the Holy One. Oh well, enough nitpicking and on with the music.

Darkside is a very fast paced album. The duration itself is quite short, and the songs whiz by like an exciting page-turning book. There are no lame fade-outs and most of the songs kick off with a blast. Things only properly slow down with the few instrumental interludes dispersed throughout the album, and I’m actually left wondering if the overall album would be more violently convincing without them. Nice pieces of music, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Necrophobic decided to tack them on when they realized the material they had didn’t quite make up enough time for a full length album. Venaesectio is a truly beautiful piano melody but Necrophobic just don’t come across as the vampyric Romantics that (I hate to draw the comparison again) Dissection were at the time, and when placed in between two burstingly aggressive tracks it's loveliness seems a bit undermined. Nifelhel, on the other hand, is the only metal instrumental and is actually one of my favourite moments of the album. Certainly the most melodic riffs here, and damn, they sound absolutely great. For some reason it doesn’t throw off the more in-your-face tone of the rest of the songs, and the guitar melodies beam through like bright forks of lightening in the dead of night. This could actually be my favourite song off the album. Other highlights include the mostly mid-paced title track in which the riffs and vocals complement each other for some brilliant verses, and the opening line: “Satan take my SOOOOUUUULLLLL” is simply badass. Nailing the Holy One almost comes off as a sort of anthem, with its chug-like riffs leading into a frenzied blur of blastbeats and storming guitar. At just under three minutes, it’s a to-the-point encapsulation of basically everything this album boasts to offer.

I’m not entirely familiar with the rest of Necrophobic’s career, but I reckon this is a great place to start. It doesn’t leave too much to be desired. Pacing could be improved, but the songs are top quality and the continuity still plays through quite nicely. I imagine this is probably already a valued piece of a lot of your collections, but if you’re looking for some fast ’90s Swedish death/black metal, suck it up and join the dark side.

Oh Necrophobic, How Sith Of You - 87%

OzzyApu, May 19th, 2011

Wicked cover art, wicked riffs, and wicked everything. This album would bask in your blood and smoke a cigarette if it could. It doesn’t hold back in anything, from the chilly atmosphere to Sterner’s blasting. David Parland’s playing on The Nocturnal Silence made that album what it was, but Darkside eases our minds knowing the band was more than useful without him (“solo on “Black Moon Rising” aside). Darkside’s opener, “Black Moon Rising”, dispels any question of the band’s capabilities with riff after riff, Sidegård screaming like a ravenous, parched creature, and elegant fragments keeping the band classy and malevolent.

This is easily Necrophobic’s shortest album at a few minutes over half an hour. At the time, it was a four year wait since the debut’s release, so roughly a half hour of material sure wouldn’t have held me over at first glance. But rather roughly a half hour of quality content than a padded release, right? That’s where Darkside shines, but the flow of the album suffers – compliments of instrumental tracks needlessly cutting up the album. I can see what the band was trying to do, but all these tracks do is bog the album down in red-light, green-light fashion. The instrumentals themselves are remarkable, particularly the gothic qualities of “Venaesectio”, an evocative keyboard / synth segment. “Descension” continues from the first instrumental in the same way, but it occurs two tracks later and would be a whole lot impactful had it combined with “Venaesectio”. “Nifelhel” is more like a regular Necrophobic song, but less aggressive and sinisterly catchy the whole way.

Each song is relatively short, as Necrophobic usually keep it. Cold production, gothic tone, clean leads, and an onslaught of tremolo riffs. Sidegård going on vocals was a wise one, as he’s got batty screams that compliment the shroud of iniquity. Bass support is vital, doing well to follow the rhythm guitar, but the overall sound of the album isn’t very beefy. The clean humming in “The Call” and the barbaric attitude of “Nailing The Holy One”, while supplement well by bass, would have been competently heavy had the other instruments been thicker.

One can’t complain too much, since what Darkside does have going for it is bitter intensity and gloomy romanticism. It’s a little sloppy in terms of organization, but listeners shouldn’t have a hard time accepting it this way. It’s a short album that’s concise, offering more as a whole group than in individual units. With that awesome cover art, it even trumps the debut in some ways.

A real must have in everyone's collection - 94%

dismember_marcin, February 25th, 2011

I wonder if many of you have been surprised when Necrophobic released their second album, "Darkside". OK, maybe after the "Spawned by Evil" MCD one cold expect even darker and more evil music coming from the Swedish band, especially if we compare it to the "The Nocturnal Silence" debut... But myself I was quite surprised to get something what basically is almost pure black metal album. Of course it all depends how you want to classify it, as bands like Dissection are for some death metal, others will call it black metal... And maybe it doesn't even matter at all, as long as the music is great, but really, "Darkside" is little bit different from the debut - much blacker.

Of course a lot of it has to do with the fact that it was David Parland, a'ka Blackmoon, who wrote majority of the album. It's funny that he wasn't even in the band anymore at the time of recording "Darkside" (he was replaced by Sebastian Ramstedt from bands called Exhumed / Morpheus). Blackmoon had his very original way of writing music, focusing on melody and choruses, but playing it at great speed - something he wonderfully developed on Dark Funeral's "Secrets of the Black Arts" masterpiece and in his band Infernal. "Darkide" has more melodic and probably more structured songs than these two though; in some way they're the finest examples of combining the black metal atmosphere with death metal's melodic riffing - put together Dark Funeral's debut, Necrophobic's debut and Dissection's first two albums and this is exactly what "Darkside" sounds like. Dissection's "Somberlain" must have been a great influence for Necrophobic. Listen to such songs as "Spawned by Evil" and "Darkside" and tell me, isn't it very close to that band? But the songwriting on "Darkside" is great. I really, really, like all the songs from it. They just have everything I would like to hear from such band... They're well diversified, fast or mid paced, with choruses, melodic, but very uncompromising and brutal. And have this great sinister, evil atmosphere. It's even hard to decide, which song I like best, as they're all pretty even. "The Call" and "Spawned by Evil" are two of the finest, also this fast fucker titled "Nailing the Holy One", but really, there's not a bad song here. Maybe putting three instrumental tracks on such a short album could be controversial, but I think they add an extra atmosphere into the whole concept.

There're two songs that Parland didn't participate in composing of... The first one was composed by Martin Halfdan only and is surprisingly slow, but still highly melodic song, which really stands aside from majority of the album, as it hasn't got that viciousness and satanic feeling. It's pretty calm I can describe it. Then the closing track was composed by Halfdan and drummer Joakim Sterner. I must say that "Christian Slaughter" also seems slightly different. OK, it does fit to the album perfectly, but somehow has different kind of playing and the song structure is different. Good anyway!

Lyric wise the album is pretty bad he, he. Let's be honest - it's not the best poetry ever written. Some of the lyrics like the one for "Spawned by Evil" are almost infantile. Oh come on - verse like: "Lord of lords, god of gods, Lead me to the altar where the virgin waits for me. I suck and drink from her cunt" brings nothing, but smile to my face he, he. Besides, how many times one could read about moons, drinking or spilling blood or wandering in the cold night? Hmm, of course it was very common theme for the lyrics among the Swedish bands back then - if you read lyrics from bands like Vinterland or A Canorous Quintet, you'll get something very alike. Let's just say such lyrics have its charm and dark mood, but they're bunch of nonsense. There's a lot of anger and hatred towards christianity as well, "Nailing the Holy One" partly sang by Jon Nödtveidt, is its best examples. Poor Jesus, they really give him a hard time here he, he.

You know what's the biggest value for such albums as "Darkside" or "Somberlain" or "The Nocturnal Silence" and many other, not just Swedish, classics? I can listen to them many, many times, I could know these albums for years - yeh, "Darkside" was released in 1997 - and these LPs still kick ass hard and don't get boring. This is the best proof for the quality of this music. A real must have in everybody's collection, if you ask me...

Nocturnal Black Metal - 100%

Noctir, January 15th, 2008

"Darkside" is the second full-length album from Necropobic. Recorded in 1996 and released in 1997, this classic album is one of the most overlooked masterpieces I've encountered. I discovered this album fairly late, picking it up in a local Stockholm record store, Sound Pollution, in the summer of 2003. It was after a short discussion with the guy working there that he recommended this album to me, especially since we shared a fondness for Dissection.

As "Black Moon Rising" begins, one hears that the Satanic Death Metal sound from "The Nocturnal Silence" has evolved into something more dark and sinister. The guitars are more piercing, the tempo is faster and the sound is all around more raw and dark. Bassist, Tobias Sidegård, had replaced Anders Strokirk as the vocalist, and the result was a much higher pitched, raspier sound. This is Swedish Black Metal at its best.

"Spawned By Evil" continues the frenetic pace, and it's not until "Bloodthirst" that it slows down, somewhat. The guitar work of David Parland (aka Blackmoon of Dark Funeral, Infernal, War) is very identifiable and is one of the best things about the album.

The instrumental pieces, "Venaesectio", "Descension" and "Nifelhel" that do a great job in adding to the atmosphere, and they are spread out through the album. This album, more than any other I've heard, really seems like a tribute to the night, to the full moon, blood, darkness and evil. The guitar sound is not only cold, it also carries a very nocturnal feel to it. This can also be seen on "The Secrets of the Black Arts", but I think it is much more successful here.

The title track, "Darkside", is one of the standout tracks on this album and possesses a great feel to it. I begins somewhat fast but then maintains a more mid-paced tempo throughout much of the song. The solo work is very well done and fits in with the music very well, working to accentuate the riff rather than some throwaway solo that serves no purpose.

Then, we have "The Call." This begins with a slow, quiet part that builds the atmosphere and produces images of nocturnal rituals of solitude. The pace picks up and the sinister rasps of Tobias Sidegård carry well. By the middle of the song, we have a very oldschool drumbeat behind the main riff, which sounds as if it could have come from a Mercyful Fate album. An instrumental track separates this from "Nailing the Holy One", which features Jon Nödtveidt trading off vocal lines with Tobias. Vocally, they are both pretty similar, yet still manage to compliment one another well and to convey a great hatred for Christianity here. Oddly enough, the mid-paced riff that begins this song is one of the rare Death Metal moments, before transitioning back to the fast tremolo riffing found all over the rest of the album. This may well have been one of Jon's final studio performances before going to prison.

"Nifelhel" has a nearly hypnotizing effect, as the feeling one gets from gazing up at the full moon on a cold winter night, for hours on end. By the time the album closes out with "Christian Slaughter", you feel that you have not just listened to something, you have experienced it. While some could make comparisons to Dissection and Dark Funeral (mainly due to the guitar tone/player and little else), this really stands on its own. It shares small similarities in sound, technique and atmosphere, yet creates something here that I find to be wholly unique. This is Cold Nocturnal Black Metal, and it is something that I recommend very highly, especially to fans of old Dissection. Standout tracks include: "Black Moon Rising", "Darkside", "The Call"....really, all of them...

Black Moon Rising? - 90%

Priest_of_Evil_666, October 10th, 2005

Necrophobic – Darkside

After releasing the stunning debut Nocturnal Silence that took the metal world by storm all eyes were upon Necrophobic. There was an uneasy silence, bridged with a single featuring a new track Spawned by Evil, complete with some cool cover songs. David Parland (aka Blackmoon) was busy with Dark Funeral but returned albeit briefly, to contribute to the Necrophobic cause. Parland was not to stay with Necrophobic and although he highly disapproved of the production of Darkside (what the hell happened to the bass…) musically speaking it was a nicely crafted piece of melodic and aggressive black-death that he contributed a lot too. Packed with trademark Necrophobic aggression it remains a mystery why this band appeared to fall off the radar after their critically acclaimed debut.

All Things Darkside:

Darkside heralds the beginning of Tobias Sidegard’s role as vocalist, filling the big shoes Anders Strokirk left behind - Tobias proving to have an equally intimidating aural posture with his acid snarl and at times gruff, deathlike growls. Darkside reportedly said to be recorded between an eclipse of the moon and of the sun at Sunlight Studios; it was also destined to be the closing chapter of Mr. Parland’s involvement with Necrophobic, the opening track marked ironically with the lyrics “I see the Black moon rising”.

Blackmoon is the first song to fall upon our ears, music and its generic lyrics (forests, wolves, twilight) courtesy of D.Parland - a song coined after his Dark Funeral persona… Blackmoon begins as trade mark D.P piece; a blitz of chords that never actually reach maximum speed and you never really notice - it cruises along in a most evil fashion; beefy, catchy metal encouraging you to sing along. Using this track to open the disc is obviously a testament of exactly how much Necrophobic appreciate D.Ps input though one of Necrophobics strong points lies in the ability of all their members to contribute to song and lyric writing. Track two Spawned by Evil is served up exactly as on the single, a fast (possibly the fastest track on Darkside), ruthless delivery with a truckload of guitar solos. With Necrophobic you can always count on great breaks, punishing riffs and a subterranean plethora of guitar solos! Bloodthirst is co-written by Parland, Halfdahn and Sterner (long time Necrodrummer) more on par with Blackmoon regarding the general pace and feel with a good slather of memorable, up-tempo moments.

Episode one, no, not the star wars movie but the first in a series of instrumentals on this disc. Tobias Sidegard is the master of this excursion and it’s rather refreshing in the vein of forest - medieval atmosphere piece, not too complicated or to long and not all that dissimilar to what we might expect to hear from Wongraven. Darkside breaks the melancholic spell post haste with brutal bar chords in total Dark Funeral style. Four bars of total blitzkrieg onslaught ending as dramatically as it started - all that remains is one guitar plowing through the corpses in a most jubilantly pompous manner; this rollicking black riff will stick in your head until Armageddon along with its words “Satan take my soul” that soon join the piece; cue the drum roll and other instruments, bang your head! Moving right along it’s time to be treated to another entertaining instrumental moment c/o T. Sidegard (have I mentioned he also is behind half the artwork on display here as well as the deathly voice in your ears) shorter than the last and a relatively unobtrusive mood enhancer.

Nailing the Holy One features Jon Nodiveidt on vocals (every second line to be precise) it’s a bloodcurdling effort, packed with venom spat at a rate unconscionable, a very exhausting and liberating track with a rolling break and a melody harking back to early Slayer days. With a welcome change to the mayhem we digest the third instrumental written by Halfdahn, a highly melodious electric guitar piece as opposed the previous piano/keyboard compositions by Sidegard. The last official track Christian Slaughter you can literally hear the buzzsaws churning through the flesh of the pure it ends with a horn wailing in the background, adding to the eerie atmosphere of Satan’s armies murderous crusade.

In short, Necrophobic have opted for a harsher sound than their debut; replacing the thick, warm guitars with icy tones placing it in a more black metal looking box but it’s still classic Necrophobic – if you already like them you wont be too disappointed - a little faster all round than their previous effort and a touch more black.