Legendary Norwegian black metal act Emperor have long been one of the most beloved bands in the genre, and their 1994 debut In the Nightside Eclipse is still looked at today as not only a classic but highly influential. Candlelight Records has lovingly reissued this landmark release for its 20th anniversary, housed in a digibook package that includes the original album, complete with a few bonus tracks, and a second CD with an alternate mix and a few rare rehearsal tracks.
No doubt most black metal fans are already very familiar with In the Nightside Eclipse, so going into great detail on just how amazing songs like "Cosmic Keys to My Creations & Times", "Towards the Pantheon", "Beyond the Great Vast Forest", and "I Am the Black Wizards" are is probably not necessary. This is a savage album, make no mistake about it, but highly melodic, with sweeping, orchestral keyboards floating over Ihsahn's raging screams, and the relentless guitar riffs & blast beats that come at you from every angle. The bonus tracks are excellent, with "Ancient Queen" being a furious black metal anthem, "Witches Sabbath" more of a doom metal piece with some haunting vocals, and "Lord of the Storms" a brief yet brutal slice of extreme metal.
The alternate mix of the album on CD2 gives the songs an even colder, more haunting feel. "Into the Infinity of Thoughts", with its frigid riffs and ominous synths just seeps into your bones, and the orchestral keyboard swells on "The Burning Shadows of Silence" seem to have a more pronounced feel, keeping step with Ihsahn's venomous growls at every turn. Even the glorious riffs of the classic "Inno a Satana" have a bolder feel in this new mix. The bonus rehearsal tracks are just that, so don't expect premium quality, but it's cool to hear Emperor in the studio fine tuning some of these songs.
Some will question why an alternate mix on an album that's just about perfect was necessary, but it's still cool to hear In the Nightside Eclipse in a slightly different light. Though the review here is on the digital promo, word is the digibook is quite lovely, and with the addition of those three excellent bonus tracks on the first disc, it makes purchasing this classic black metal album again totally worthwhile.
02_Into the Infinity of Thoughts
03_The Burning Shadows of Silence
04_Cosmic Keys to My Creations & Times
05_Beyond the Great Vast Forest
06_Towards the Pantheon
07_The Majesty of the Nightsky
08_I Am the Black Wizards
09_Inno a Satana
12_Lord of the Storms
Alternate Mix with the addition of:
10. The Majesty of the Nightsky (4-track pre-production)
11. The Burning Shadows of Silence (pre-production/rehearsal)
12. I Am the Black Wizards (rehearsal)