Emperor
Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
[Candelight]


And now, after the supreme Loss And Curse Of Reverence-MCD, the long awaited full length lies before me. I'm almost anxious to put it into my CD-player. The back of the sleeve says "Emperor performs sophisticated black metal art exclusively" and that's exactly true. The intro begins with an acoustic guitar theme with some threatening background sounds, and the voice of some undead wight pledges an oath to the Nightspirit. Then the guitars fall in and after that the bombastic end of the intro explodes into the triumphant "Ye Entrancemperium", of which the beginning theme is composed by Euronymous. The power, emotion and generally haunting feeling in this song is beyond belief, the band combines raging brutality with grief, triumph, anger and -- pure -- evil... After this orgasm of five minutes there are still more grimm songs on this album, quite well composed and varied. The players know their instruments well (especially Trym's drumming is awesome) and the producer (Pytten) has deserved my eternal respect. What a wall of sound this album produces... It's incredible how all instruments can be heard loud and clear with still this cyclone of violence. This album is a technically skillful storm of wicked evil and you will most assuredly dig it unless you like primitivity.

::: UPDATE ::: RE-REVIEW/REBUTTAL ::: UPDATE :::

Somewhat symbolic for Emperor's album is my other review for this album... I had forgotten about it and when I saw it again while just browsing the web, I figured I was full of praise about the "brilliant" album then. I'd like to give a review after more than a year has passed since I wrote the other one... I had listened to the album twice or so and was completely abashed by it's massive sound. Nowadays, this will not happen to me again! I was caught off-guard. The point is, this album IS great, for the first few listens. After that, the speed/sound thrill disappears and what remains is a decent black metal album, worth a listen. Nothing more and nothing less. The mix is pretty terrible and that's only an outside feature, but still quite a hindrance. Generally this album has lots of ideas and enough extremity to remain, well, entertaining might be a good word here, but unfortunately, when surveying the album as a whole, one will notice that it tells us nothing at all. The songs stand apart and individually as well as combined they lead nowhere. The technical abilities are great (although I think that Trym's double-bass work is somewhat overdone... A little rest here and there wouldn't hurt), there are some rather intricate compositions, really, the body and mind of this release are great. It is soul that is lacking; conviction, spirit, true inspiration. It is a greatly wrapped gift, but after the wrapping has been removed very little remains. So, I'd say, a nice album to occasionally give it a listen. I am not saying that my first review of this album was VERY lame, or that I was lame back then, but I've written this one alongside with it as kind of a supplemental for those who are interested. Just watch out. If you like aesthetics, then you buy the album. But if you want something more in the long run, tape it and use your money somewhere else...


1997 dwaallicht