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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 SidegÄrd, 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.