In the Nightside Eclipse
February 21, 1994
Out of the familiar Norwegian bands of black metal's second wave (Mayhem, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, Immortal, Satyricon), I find Emperor to be of conceptually higher class. Their debut, Into the Nightside Eclipse is an untouchable masterpiece. There is something noticeably romantic about the gothic symphonic elements inherited directly from King Diamond, and ambitious, epic songcraft. Indeed, the compositions often rival those of full blown orchestras in their depth of scope and density of instrumentation. It can sound downright religious at times, that is, if you are capable of gasping through the suffocating constriction of such an all-out assault. Just listen to "Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times". Thankfully the menacingly grim attitude of drummer Faust and rhythm guitarist Samoth kept the reigns on Ihsahn's bombastic persona, keeping the sound grounded firmly in the grim and trve end of the black metal spectrum (as opposed to the cheap hollow sideshow thrills offered by Cradle of Filth, for an unfortunate example). The cover art is also suitably grandiose for the music. Bask in the world "Beyond the Great Vast Forest", under "The Majesty of the Nightsky". This is black metal royalty. "I am the Black Wizards". Indeed.