“The Nocturnal Silence” represents something of a pivotal moment in the history of Swedish death metal. It was the last of the great albums to emerge from the death metal movement which sprung up surrounding Sunlight Studios, the logical development of a lineage including bands like God Macabre and Afflicted. At the same time, they pioneered techniques which, in the hands of less capable artists, led to terminally mediocre albums like “Storm of the Light’s Bane.”
Necrophobic’s pedigree is certainly evident, with the doomy passages and narrative structures characteristic of early Swedish death metal in full display. What sets “The Nocturnal Silence” apart from other albums in the style is the band’s awareness of contemporary developments in the Norse black metal movement, and their ability to incorporate lessons learned from Burzum, Darkthrone and Immortal within the framework of Stockholm death. A fast tremelo strum is the predominant riffing style, alternating occasionally with thunderous downpicked reversions and slowly picked arpeggios. Melodic interplay had long been a staple of the Swedish scene, but hitherto, it had been almost an incidental element. However, melodies are not only abundant here, they are fully articulated through both riffing and the (superb) leadwork and incorporated as a fundamental rather than incidental element. Combined with the fluid, ambient percussion lines (part of the aforementioned Norse influence), this lends an air of the epic to otherwise relatively compact (4-6 minute) compositions.