Lunar Aurora
Of Stargates and Bloodstained Celestial Spheres

I have a feeling Emperor would have sounded something like this if they had continued playing black metal, were German, and had someday found a decent production. The production isn't far off from Mayhem's "Wolf Lair Abyss" actually - thick and heavy, but with a strong emphasis on the keyboards instead of the guitars.

I rather like "Of Stargates..." actually. Clearly, it won't be an all-time favorite, but there's enough variation to make it an interesting album. The vocals are very decent as well - deeper, varied growls, and less over the top then numerous bands, giving the album a dark (rather than silly) feel. Not to mention there's something very German about them (no, not fisting or scat German - but darker and slightly 'out there', like watching a Kung-Fu movie on German television). Like numerous albums that rely on keyboards though, there are some goofy parts, particularly in the ultimately idiotic sounding "Der Leidensweg". The more unique tracks, "Sternenblut", "Schwarzer Engel", and the cool as fuck "Die Quelle im Wald" more than make up for it though.

When I purchased their first album numerous years ago, I ended up giving it away after one listen. This, on the other hand, will probably take a few months before finding itself on the trade list, if ever.

2000 brand