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Emperor - Wrath of the Tyrant
Review: Rampantly evil and obscenely original yet somehow familiar and almost universal music of darkness comes from Emperor, Norwegian bloodhounds of epic stylings in music. These long and gently cruising songs build melody in fast riffing to create atmosphere and then move it, gently and then insanely, through a maze of permutations to let the music build to its full exploration of melody and phrase.
Although perceptibly composed by younger musicians, these tracks demonstrate the quirky brilliance in both music and lyrics that would later make this band a favorite in the black metal crowd. Opening with a moribund and feral ambient introduction leading into the serpentine "Ancient Queen" and then through a panorama of early Emperor.
This band creates music by enwrapping a simple melodic idea inside a couple riffs, and then moving them throughout keys in an artful extension of structure, working with sliding rhythmic containers to allow harmonic exploration. Keyboards hide in the haze of guitar distortion and augment the melodic tendencies with often vaguely cheesy patterns that would be glaring, if not lost in noise. But all is artful, from pronunciation and the acting skills required to sing such theatrical vocals to the great variation of riffs fast and slow that populate this album.