F U L L . R E V I E W S
Emperor has long been heralded as one of black metal's premiere acts and has been given credit with helping the genre move continually forward due to their uncanny ability to craft albums that appealed to the diehard fans of the genre while altering the typical formula. "In the Nightside Eclipse", the debut full-length album, unleashed shockwaves throughout the metal communities when it was released by Candlelight Records in 1994 (subsequently to be released via Century Media a year later).
While the album kept its roots in traditional black metal, it also pushed the boundaries of what the genre was thought to be by incorporating incredibly progressive riffing and choral elements into the album. "Nightside" matched its epic incredibility with an equally epic and bombastic sound. This would come to be Emperor's trademark as the band's career carried forward.
When they do re-releases of albums, a lot of times I get a little shudder or tremor of uncertainty and apprehension. How many times have we bought an album that was said to be the "Limited Edition", only to have another, cooler more expensive version come out a few months down the road? This 20th anniversary edition is a two disc set (sometimes three, depending on how much you want to spend*) that features a disc of the original mix as well as a re-mastered version of the "As the Shadows Rise" 7" EP. Going back and listening to this album in a more polished form gives you the ability to hear the instrumentation and the complex musical nature that Emperor possessed at such an early age. With all the advances in the producing world now, this album sounds brand new as if I am listening to it for the first time. The EP re-master is also very high quality and a real treat as I had not heard any of the three tracks that were featured.
The bonus for me personally is the second disc containing a brand new, previously unreleased alternate mix of the album in its entirety as well as the previously unreleased "Akkerhaugen Tapes" which contains three early demos of tracks that were to be featured on the record. The alternate mix is not as audibly clear as the re-mastered original mix but as you listen to the album you can hear very subtle differences throughout. The "Akkerhaugen Tapes" is an incredibly rough demo of "The Majesty of the Nightsky", "The Burning Shadows of Silence" and "I Am the Black Wizards". Even though the recordings aren't the greatest quality, given that they are demos of course, you can still hear the raw talent and capabilities of the band.
In closing, "In the Nightside Eclipse" 20th Anniversary Edition is a re-release that is well worth its weight in salt and worth spending some money on. Whether you are a collector, an Emperor devotee or a genre fan, this collection is definitely worth it.
* The third disc, as viewed through Nuclear Blast's website, seems to be a disc of bands covering each track from the album. Whether this is actually something that is included, I am not entirely sure but thought it was interesting that it was listed.
About this Writer:
Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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