Emperor’s out for blood again, and they can have mine, they’ve earned it. After releasing the most majestic, engulfing and atmospheric black metal album ever in ’97 ( Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk ) they come back two years later and release what is undeniably the heaviest fuckin’ black metal album EVER! All the black metal basics are here: scratchy vocals, hyperspeed drumming, keyboards, and atmosphere by the truckload, but instead of the usual BM style guitar antics, Emperor’s decided to go all out with a Slayeresque approach and pushed the guitars up to the forefront. The resulting aural barrage is akin to having your already blackened heart ripped out while leaving the rest of your body intact to mourn the loss. But don’t think it’s all brutal either — while this does get closer to death metal than the black variety, they still know how to slow things down and drench you in melancholy and rejections. Ihsahn’s finally getting his “singing” right, and the effects are quite — do I dare say it? — beautiful. Except for those King Diamond-esque
wails, which are wholly laughable, Ihsahn’s vocal performance is right on track.
If this isn’t THE top metal album of the year, then we have quite a fruitful year of incredible metal coming up. Emperor have but once more pissed their mark on the black metal throne that Cradle of Filth couldn’t even draw in their coloring books. Hail Emperor!
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