Archive for December, 2014

Towards the Pantheon: 20 Years of In the Nightside Eclipse

Posted in anniversary, black metal, norway, true norwegian black metal with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

I’ve said it once, and I know I’ll say it again, but Emperor really might be the best black metal band ever in my book. Their musicianship is brilliant, and the fact that they were able to compose such masterpieces so young is absolutely astounding. And nothing quite shows off what the young band was capable of like 1994’s In the Nightside Eclipse. Melodic, thunderously heavy, and as off-putting as it is lovely, Emperor’s debut full-length is an album that sits pretty near the top on most fan’s lists of the greatest black metal albums of all time.

While many bands have done the symphonic black metal thing since Emperor’s heyday, none have managed to pull it off quite as well as Emperor themselves. Because the keyboards and symphonic bits are not just embellishment in Emperor’s music in the same way that it is in the music of so many bands- the symphonic bits are integrated deeply into the fabric of the music itself, causing the songs to exhibit a shared genotype. Although In the Nightside Eclipse is not as cohesive as the later Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk in terms of the album sounding really seriously like a freaking symphony, you can definitely hear the start of something approaching that theme-like approach on Nightside.

The cover art is every bit as magnificent as the album itself, featuring goblin-like creatures wielding all manner of nasty-looking medieval weapons and storming towards a castle. The Death figure from the band’s demo, Wrath of the Tyrant, oversees the festivities, and the bright moon casts its shadow over roiling clouds and dark mountains. Fittingly, the setting looks a lot like Norway, with its craggy peaks and spear-like evergreens, and considering that the inside artwork (at least that on my CD version) depicts a Viking battle, I’d say that the culture of the frozen North is pretty much stamped all over the Satanic emanations of this album. For me, the most awe-inspiring aspect of the artwork is the way the landscape is bathed in the moonlight, a mix of frosty blue and purplish hues that I have come to associate with Necrolord’s work.

An HD wallpaper rendition by aerock36 on deviantart.

An HD wallpaper rendition by aerock36 on deviantart.

From fanarttv.com

From fanarttv.com

Nightside also contains some of Emperor’s most instantly recognizable tracks. Of course, “I Am the Black Wizards” is probably the fan favorite, a rad 8-bit cover by Darth Eniak having made waves on YouTube. And when I saw Ihsahn perform at Maryland Deathfest and he soundchecked with the opening riff to that song, I will admit that I sort of had a moment of fangirl madness. My favorite track on Nightside, however, is probably “Inno A Satana;” the classical-inspired riffs in the song emphasize what I love most about Emperor, their majesty and sheer musicianship.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of what is easily one of the greatest black metal masterpieces ever created. Emperor’s debut full-length spawned a slew of imitators, but none have ever quite managed to compare. I was lucky enough to find a mint-condition LP of In the Nightside Eclipse earlier this year (the Back on Black edition), and I was overjoyed, as Emperor was my main reason for purchasing a record player. And now I’m going to go listen to it some more, because it’s never not a good time for Emperor.

-Hagalaz

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The Return of the Darkness and Evil…

Posted in Uncategorized on December 25, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

Well, it’s been a while. Things have been crazy- first of all, I’m currently studying for my comprehensive exams, which I will take in the spring and then will know whether or not I get to go forward in my PhD program. So there’s that. I’ve been really busy reading Le Morte D’Arthur and the like.

Then there’s the fact that I just… burned out a little. I’ve been on a HUGE doom metal kick for a while now (i.e. throughout the summer until a few weeks ago), and I hadn’t really been listening to much black metal at all. I also haven’t been to a whole ton of shows in recent months. In fact, I’ve been to three since seeing Slough Feg in July (Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, which I left early because it was crowded and hot and miserable, Skinny Puppy, and just the other night managed to BARELY catch Wodensthrone). I had intended to see Carach Angren and Inquisition, but ended up not going because I was in the midst of a horrible allergy attack and I felt awful. I’m pretty much at the point right now where, if it’s not black metal, you’re going to have to do a lot of convincing to get me to go.

Also I now have a new job, so switching jobs has added some stress as well as some more hours onto my life per week. Add that with a dash of me going on a big reading kick and watching horror movies pretty much non-stop (I’m planning on starting a horror blog too, at some point. Gotta figure out what to call it though), and all of a sudden you have a young lady who hasn’t got much time to blog.

But as I illustrated earlier, I saw Wodensthrone the other day, which kind of sparked the fire again. Even moreso was my purchase of Panopticon’s new album, Enslaved’s Yggdrasil, and Darkthrone’s Under a Funeral Moon. Season that with the new Marduk album coming out soon and the fact that in January, Mayhem AND Watain are both coming AND Revenge is opening and you have a super-stoked young lady with black metal in her blood all over again.

So that is what I have been up to, and I have been planning in the interim when I can. I’ll be back with another post later today, in honor of one of the most important albums in black metal history.

Until then…

Hagalaz