Shelob's Lair - Nightfall in Heaven
Northern Silence Productions
Black Metal
8 songs (28' 38")
Release year: 2001
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Andy

I don't review a lot of demos, but this one is a minor piece of black metal history, and a personal one for the founder of Northern Silence Productions. Back in the late 90s, he and some other friends, influenced by now-classic Second Wave black metal artists, decided to form a band of their own. After a single gig and a demo, they fell apart and Norghash ended up concentrating on Northern Silence. He's now releasing it on CD exactly as it was recorded twenty years ago, but with some beautiful cover art instead of whatever black-and-white photocopy he and his 20-year-old friends likely would have cooked up at the time.

Needless to say, the quality is low, with some bizarre production choices; it seems that the production engineer only had experience with EBM and with few clues, was told to just crank the reverb up on everything to increase the sense of stormy chaos on the album. That it does. It gives the music a thunderous, Ragnarok quality; the thin little keyboard backing has a sense of fragility as it wails next to the fury of the guitar and bass. The three Nightfall in Heaven tracks are the most epic in this respect, but also the most disorganized; The Key to Immortality is tighter and more melodic. The last couple of tracks are strangely incomplete, even though it seems as if they were meant to be like that; One With the Night, in particular, wasn't complete at the time of the gig, and doesn't seem to be completely fleshed out on the demo either. At a couple of minutes long, both barely have their freezing atmosphere established before they're fading out or coming to a quick ending.

Needless to say, this might not be the best introduction to Scandinavian black metal for the novice, but collectors and black metal history fans will definitely find it interesting. A glimpse of what might have been, it contains some decent songs with a good atmosphere once you get past the lo-fi recording.

Killing Songs :
The Key to Immortality, and the Nightfall in Heaven tracks
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