DB HOF NO. 11
The making of Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse”
In the Norwegian summer of 1993, the second wave of black metal was still in its ultra-violent infancy, and only a handful of bands were actively exploring the parameters of what was then an obscure and distinctly Scandinavian art form. Upon its release in 1995, In the Nightside Eclipse established Emperor as the reigning masters of a more complex, atmospheric style of “symphonic black metal,” but before the album was even mixed, half the band was in prison on charges ranging from arson to murder. The recording sessions at Grieghallen Studios in Bergen were completed in July 1993, just a month before black metal hysteria would seize Scandinavia in the grip of screaming newspaper headlines detailing the vicious murder of Mayhem founder/guitarist Øystein Aarseth (a.k.a. Euronymous) by Burzum mastermind and onetime Mayhem session bassist Varg Vikernes (a.k.a. Count Grishnackh). Suddenly, a Pandora’s Box of criminal activity in the black metal underground was sprung wide open. Shortly after Vikernes’ apprehension, Emperor guitarist Samoth was arrested for church-burning and Emperor drummer Bård Eithun (a.k.a. Faust) was arrested for killing a man in the Lillehammer Olympic Park—a deed he had committed almost a year prior to the recording of In the Nightside Eclipse. Released from prison in December 2002 after serving nine years and four months’ time, Faust joins fellow ex-Emperors Samoth, Ihsahn (guitar/vocals/keys) and Tchort (bass) on the eve of a sudden Emperor reunion (featuring Samoth, Ihsahn and longtime Emperor drummer Trym) to recount the making of one of the most historically fascinating and sonically influential albums in the annals of extreme metal.
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