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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.