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Revisiting Soulside Journey

Revisiting Soulside Journey
November 10, 2011, 03:50:33 AM
Whenever I come back to the first Darkthrone I'm struck by what a truly awesome and somewhat underappreciated gem it is. And I can't help but think what it might have led to if the band didn't disown it and release a spate of genre re-defining albums in its wake.

What is unique/cool about it:

- It's not overly structural like most death metal before it, allowing for some interesting compositional choices.
- It carries the dark emotionality of nascent black metal within the twisted, cerebral process of death metal.
- It breathes well i.e. it's consistent throughout yet with contrast. A precursor to the epic.
- Contains possibly some of the best Darkthrone lyrics.

Questions:

Is there anything that comes close to this?
How might Goatlord have turned out if the band didn't jump the tracks with A blaze in the northern sky?
Was the album purely a product of its time period made by insightful musicians or the seeds of some great potential than never eventuated.

Re: Revisiting Soulside Journey
November 12, 2011, 05:07:00 PM
Is there anything that comes close to this?
Ceremonium- No Longer Silent.

Re: Revisiting Soulside Journey
November 12, 2011, 09:38:40 PM
Morpheus Descends' two post Ritual albums seem to be influenced by Darkthrone's first quite a bit, particularly the last EP they did. They take the rolling, atmospheric style of death metal that Darkthrone created (via their peculiar Norwegian interpretation of the early Autopsy) and synthesize it with New York-style death metal, and they do it quite well, I might add. I never really hear too many people talk about later Morpheus Descends, but it is uniformly good stuff. Check it out here, but I would really recommend just downloading the FLACs of their later stuff from Audiophile, as MP3 compression tends to ruin the sound of this kind of atmospheric death metal.

Anyway, I think that there is definitely a lot of Autopsy on Soulside, Goatlord, and even Blaze in the Northern Sky (check out the middle section of "Paragon Belial"), but Darkthrone definitely did something original with that Autopsy influence, something worth following up on. Not too many bands seemed to have tapped that similar vein of atmospheric black/death stuff in the same way, but there are a few that come to mind. Septic Grave explored a similar kind of rolling, expansive ambiance, but they approached it from a more Unanimated/Dissection-type style (with quite a bit of ye olde Swedeath mixed in as well).

Obliteration, a newer band from Darkthrone's hometown of Kolbotn, take a lot of influence from the progressive song structures of Soulside and Goatlord, and find their own style by putting a heavy emphasis on separation of and complex interaction between different instrumental layers, particularly on their second album. They're an interesting band in that they're an amalgamation of a lot of disparate influences: you can hear bits of '70s progressive rock, weirder '80s punk/metal like Sacrilege and English Dogs, early doom/death like Dream Death, lots of Autopsy... it reminds me of how the olde Norwegian black metal acts were influenced by everything from Kraftwerk to Bathory to Tchaikovsky. Cadaver's second album may have been influenced by Darkthrone's death metal period as well, but I can't confirm that.

A band falling into the "not-influenced-by-Soulside-but-working-from-a-similar-perspective" category would be Toxodeth from Mexico. Be warned: their stuff is the kind of music that makes for great listening when you get your head around it, but it's also really weird and inaccessible. They started out as doomy '80s death thrash, but they radically altered the template by using a clear, expansive guitar sound and incorporating influences from Bach, Romantic classical stuff, and horror movie soundtracks. They focus less on brutality and more on atmosphere and intricate composition. I came across their first album a couple years ago, and I've been listening to it regularly ever since. It fits in really well with the atmosphere emanating from the bands described above.

Re: Revisiting Soulside Journey
November 13, 2011, 02:01:08 AM
I never really hear too many people talk about later Morpheus Descends, but it is uniformly good stuff. Check it out here, but I would really recommend just downloading the FLACs of their later stuff from Audiophile, as MP3 compression tends to ruin the sound of this kind of atmospheric death metal.

The impression I had from the DLA review was that it was strong nuclear material for a particular sound. A good work, important historically but non-essential. That contributed to me never really exploring them, but if you consider their further output to be of merit I suppose I should change that. Thank you for this post.

Ceremonium's No Longer Silent really can be considered an evolution of Soulside Journey in a way. A wonderful work that to me was a legitimately exciting new direction for death/black metal. In a way I guess Soulside Journey really was a product of its time that was never perpetuated by others, perhaps due to the burgeoning black metal scene. However, No Longer Silent most certainly draws on (and imo streamlines) a lot from it. Go for it if you haven't aquarius

Another band in a similar vein that I wouldn't consider a progression from Soulside Journey but certainly similar is Maleficarum. The album reviewed is a powerful piece of brooding, flowing death metal with melodic sensibilities that may be similarly enjoyed.

Re: Revisiting Soulside Journey
November 16, 2011, 06:06:42 PM
I've always preferred "Into the Autumn Shade" over "No Longer Silent."

Funny that the last track of "No Longer Silent" is a cover of Darkthrone's "Cromlech."


Re: Revisiting Soulside Journey
November 18, 2011, 04:53:04 AM
It seems to be a very deliberate cover. Into the Autumn Shade doesn't have the unique voice No Longer Silent does, but a point could be made for it being the better release. Perhaps stylistically it is not exactly what is desired.

Re: Revisiting Soulside Journey
November 18, 2011, 09:16:55 AM
I'm not too familiar with later Morpheus Descends but I sometimes get a vague sense of Incantation in the 'doom' sound of the riffs, and definitely a lot of Autopsy in the way the riffs fit together to build a structure. I think this kind of cyclical/deconstructive structure they worked in is really what makes Soulside Journey and it should probably be studied inside out in terms of finding where the potential growth in metal lies.

I like Ceremonium's No Longer Silent but it's doesn't seem too close to Soulside Journey, aside from the Darkthrone cover, it has too much of a euro influence whereas Darkthrone were more influenced by american bands . Haven't heard Into the Autumn Shade but will have to check it out.