Holy crap! A double CD from the mighty and frightening Emperor? Yes, indeed, these are the greatest hits of Emperor, the scary viking-black-Nord-death-whatever metal kings from Norway, who are no longer around to torment the world with their evil and vile ways. What they have left us is this lovely set of two plastic discs, on which lay some of the scariest and spooky metal tunes ever put to tape. Yikes!
I’m guessing that just about everyone knows who Emperor is, or at least did at one time. They (along with Burzum and Mayhem) scared the hell out of the world with their ridiculously fast and spastic metal. The best way to characterize early Emperor would be early Napalm Death, slowed down a bit, with a ton of actual talent thrown into the mix. Where Napalm Death were untalented thrashers, Emperor could actually play their instruments well, and they did so in very ground-breaking and interesting ways.
Scattered Ashes is absolutely fascinating, as it traces the progression from blastbeat fast masters to slower and scarier freaks with keyboards. The early stuff is pretty hilarious, as the recording quality is crap, making it all the more tough and scary. Early or late Emperor, who cares? The first disc is 73 minutes, and the second disc is just as long, so you’re getting two and a half hours of brutal and frightening metal!
I’d say that the most enjoyable aspects of this set are the blistering monotony of “Moon over Kara-Shehr,” the slow stomp of “A Fine Day to Die” and the bleeding throat screams of “Witches Sabbath.” There’s really not a “bad” song here, and I usually hate black metal with a passion. The thing is, Emperor were always aware of the possible corniness of a keyboard, so they were wise enough to bury it to just the right level, as to not come off as a bunch of pansies.
Yes, Emperor were no pansies; quite the contrary. This was a band of truly scary musicians, making some of the most intimidating metal ever. Scattered Ashes is about as hot as hot can get.
Candlelight Records: http://www.candlelightrecords.co.uk/