Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I Am... The EMPEROR!!

Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk

My little overview of black metal has been continuing apace over the holidays. We now come to one of the most iconic bands in the genre, Emperor. Yes they're Norwegian, but I believe it is up for debate as to whether they're trve or not.

Anyone who's curious about this kind of music should definitely start with Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, as these guys seem to be the black metal band most easily enjoyed by people who don't like black metal and this is probably their most well regarded album. Indeed it is very accessible when compared to other bands of a similar style. Despite containing all the standard trappings of the genre (low-fi production, raspy vocals and spooky keyboards) it has some pretty solid and catchy songwriting which is still eminently enjoyable even when buried under a layer of fuzz. Compared to their contemporaries these guys have a far more epic sound, they're more about majestic satanic ritual whereas Mayhem and Burzum are more about grim frostbitten moors under moonlight.

Like those other bands these guys have had band members incarcerated for murder and arson but musically they don't compare to Mayhem for manic intensity, and in fact they seem to be deliberately aiming for a more commercial sound. While they're more sophisticated and have one or two great melodic moments on this album (for the record the tracks in question are 'The Oath' and 'With Strength I Burn') I'd still prefer to listen to Mayhem. Nevertheless I'd recommend these guys as the church burning, queer bashing murderers you can play for your Mum.

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