How has this band been around for nearly three decades? Emperor represents everything that is wrong with black metal nowadays. With an abundance of good, or at least better, black metal in the world, I don’t know how Emperor built a career or “legacy” out of this MTV2/Pantera mentality derived fodder they call “black metal” with added cheesy keyboards straight out of a Tim Burton movie soundtrack.
Some people even go as far as to refer to these posers as some kind of “black metal institution,” when really all “In The Nightside Eclipse” does is repackage the worst parts of early proto-black metal into an overly groove oriented abomination (but with SYNTHS!) that drags the genre down into the toilet further than Dimmu Borgir did in 1997 with “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant,” an album heavily inspired by this shitshow “In The Nightside Eclipse.” Another reiteration of their formula would also occur in 1997, with the utterly risible “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” showing effete Ihsahn’s lack of musical talent in all of its feminine glory, but even the original “In The Nightside Eclipse” accomplishes nothing more than being “angry” goth rock that uses black metal elements for aesthetics only.
When an album begins with an instrumental consisting of stock “angry” verses and “soft” chorus riffs, one after another, that sound lifted from any MTV2 metalcore band, which lasts for an upward nine minutes, you know you’re dealing with a piece of shit.
For starters, contrary to what the genre tag this band is trying to push now may suggest, there is nothing black metal or symphonic in Emperor’s music, not on this “In The Nightside Eclipse” turd and not anywhere else in their discography. Just stitched together chugging groove metal patterns that occasionally break out into keyboard-led pentatonic stadium rock cheese that wouldn’t be out of place on a Stryper release. The vocals sound like Phil Anselmo doing a parody of generic swedecore vocalists, like the “harsh” sung-shout At the Gates utilize. This band is completely generic, and if it weren’t for Ihsahn’s “friendship” (not without benefits, according to some) with Euronymous, he would still be playing the same old Pantera clone groove metal he showcased on the Thou Shalt Suffer demos.
The music is organized into “aggressive” verse riffs and “melodramatic/soul searching” choruses, that are interrupted on occasion by mechanical groove metal breakdowns or “keyboard hero” theatrics: synth solos that range from hillbilly fodder to Enya without the talent. It’s simply structured music, sure, but is it effective or expressive? No. The whole “In The Nightside Eclipse” album sounds like a Victory Records commercial for MTV2 from 2004 looped for 48 minutes. I don’t understand why a band like this would exist in the first place. Did a bunch of guys in random “black metal shirts” get together in Helvete and say “let’s rock out!” – proceeding to churn out the most generic metalcore possible?
While Emperor was indeed getting closer, baby-step by baby-step, to being recognised as something like a “black metal” band – and only through aesthetics, mostly through utilising high-pitched “shrieked” vocals – on its last round of promo content (“Emperor / Hordanes Land” with Enslaved), this debut full-length release is just a sad, pathetic and confused mess.
These guys probably meant well – Ihsahn excluded, as he is a confirmed poser – but as the promo pic of these faggoths wearing a leather jacket, a Bathory shirt and a DBSM/LGBTPQ+ Princess Leia cosplay costume from the Return of the Jedi (Samoth, Faust and Ihsahn respectively) suggested, none of them share a common interest or goal, so a mean average is settled on through the “angry mosh patterns” and “emotional keyboard melodies” of metalcore.
There is nothing inspiring or invigorating about this “In The Nightside Eclipse” and, when it ends, nothing has transpired. No change in mental state. Just the hollow, empty feeling you get after listening to Lady Gaga, Watain, Rick Ross or your typical UM Jersey wearing goatee bro Canadian metalcore. Replace this piece of overrated shit with actual black metal, i.e. Burzum’s “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss,” Neraines’ “Yggdrasil” or Phantom’s “The Epilogue to Sanity.”
And Ihsahn, please stop being such a faggoth. It’s fine to be gay, but Princess Leia’s slave attire needs to stay in the Star Wars universe.