Emperor is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1991, regarded as highly influential by critics and emerging black metal bands.The group split up in 2001, but reunited from 2005 to 2007 for a few festival dates and brief US tours, and again reunited in 2013 to 2014. The group was founded by Ihsahn (guitar/vocals) and Samoth (then, drums).
Alsvartr [The Oath]—-Beginning with a nice melodic acoustic style guitar, the listener may very well be taken aback by the sound. It is not long before the song begins to take form with an eerie vocal incantation as the atmosphere builds and builds until you are literally breathless with anticipation. In all reality, you are being prepared for……
Ye Entrancemperium—-And now….we are off and running to pound loudly on the doors of hell. the drums are so fast and delivered at such a pace it seems to be the maddening pound of evil. The slight orchestrated feel of the song provides the melody and backbone of the song. The voice…seems under produced and pushed to the back…but sounds way better than the vocal did on Nightside . This is incredible…fast….dark and delivered with the right level of evil.At times when the clean vocal emerges…you can almost hear a resemblance to Serj Tankian.
Thus Spake The Night Spirit—-Epic right from the first note, you can hear the quasi-orchestration from the keyboards. The death scream that serves as the introductory vocal is only eclipsed by the incredible drums that smack your head back and forth on your neck. The vocal…when it fully emerges is hard to understand….but the intent is clear…this is dark and driven by a force. I love the energy and the forbidden sound of it all.
Ensorcelled By Khaos—-No time to catch your breath, as this track kicks you in the face from the first note. The guitars sound really powerful on this….a literal huge wall of sound that creates their own landscape. The vocal seems unformulated and all over the place…but you can’t escape the majesty and mastery of the music…there are huge breaks and ebbs in the music…..and then you are lifted right back up again. Incredible.
The Loss And Curse Of Reverence—-Seeming to roll directly from the previous track, there is no room for variance or experimentation on this release….what you ordered is what you get…pure brutal Black Metal that gives your entire brain a workout. This track just seems to wrap around and attack me from every angle. The brutality is incredible…but underneath of it all is that keyboard melody line that provides the glue that gives the noises structure. This is fantastic….a favorite track from this release.
The Acclamation Of Bonds—-Very accessible at the onset, there are huge swells of keyboards to introduce the song before the drums and the vocal lead us down a dark path. The keyboards are always there though….providing the need structure to formulate the song. These are well trained musicians….never think for a moment this is just bashed out noise and screams and thus a record is made. The thought, the structure, the writing is top notch. This is a landmark recording.
With Strength I Burn—-Although thee is little new to offer in critique of this track, I can only mention that which really impresses me…..an incredible drum track….that helped set the standard for many of the bands in this genre today, a blistering vocal that impresses, and a melody line that appears…disappears….but always seems present. I love the clean vocal element of this song….it gives some variance and breaks up the monotonous feel of the record at this point. Just exquisite.
The Wanderer—-Ending the release with a slight somber and calm note, this track is full of swirling atmosphere and a certain sadness that pervades it through the entirety. Huge in grandiosity and tone…it is a fantastic closer to an incredible effort.
**** out of 5