Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue

Veröffentlicht am 19. Februar 2017 von Markus W. in Emperor, Ihsahn, Black Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal

As done with the first three albums from Swedish Opeth it’s Candlelight Records re-issuing the entire back catalogue from Norwegian black metal dinosaurs Emperor. The guys started back in 1991 when Norwegian black metal was heading towards its first peak. The start of the band was featured by the band’s first longplayer „In the Nightside Eclipse“, a disc that was well received at the time. The album was the first full-length release after the band had some demos out in the underground. These demos and two Split EP’s, one with Enslaved, marked the first step of a band that became an icon in black metal. Already this early release showed the potential of Emperor. Even though it was a rude and harsh longplayer, the musical potential was obvious in each of the 11 songs. Furious guitars and a racing drumming have been typical elements of black metal at that time and the guys from Telemark build their music on these pillars too. But Emperor also started to experiment, something that’s not very usual in this field of music. The band added a symphonic component to their sound, which supported a certain uniqueness already with the debut. These elements, mainly done by the inclusion of keyboards what gave the trio a wider range of opportunities, which made songs like „Towards the Pantheon“ to real classics in black metal.

Sad enough, Emperor couldn’t fully enjoy these first decent results since most of the band has been in custody due to murder, arson and battery. But based on the before mentioned the guys haven’t been reduced to violence and burning down churches. It was obvious that the band also stood for musical relevance with substantial musical capabilities that have been weaved into the band’s sound. It was mainly Samoth and Ihsahn who continued working, in the given circumstances, on the sophomore album, entitled „Anthems of the Welkin at Dusk“. It came out in 1997 and had more than a strong impact on black metal. This record is a masterpiece of Norwegian black metal and it’s up to date a reference for this kind of extreme metal music. Emperor combines atmosphere with brutal metal and it’s the combination of contrasts that makes their music so exciting. Keyboard- and sample based soundscapes are combined with relentless riffs and a mind-blowing speed. These poles add suspense to the songs on the album that features with „Ensorcelled by Khaos“ and „With Strength I Burn“ milestones in black metal. The latter is actually an example of Emperor’s wide range of sounds since the melodic “The Wanderer”, which marks a counterpart to the raging “With Strength I Burn”, follows the eight minutes epos.

Following a chronological order means talking about „Emperor / Wrath of the Tyrant“. The songs on this release go back to the roots of this iconic black metal band. „Wrath of the Tyrant“ was the name of the demo that was published in 1992 followed by a self-titled EP a year later. Considering the mentioned means a sound that is basic, raw and rough. Sound perfectionists might not be too happy with this disc, but it shows the band at a very early stage. These songs are wild, merciless and aggressive. And since they weren’t polished with a shiny production things are grounded and sound very authentic. Furthermore it’s this release that gives already a first hint about the ambition of Emperor, which was already at this early stage much more than being only reduced to rude black metal attacks.

With the first two longplayers Emperor entered the champions-league of Norwegian black metal with enlarging their fan base dramatically. It was in 1999 when the third full-length album hit the shelves. „IX Equilibrium“ was the name of this longplayer that added a new chapter to Emperor’s discography and since the guys are not too predictable, a few things changed. In the end I think that it was a good decision since it added another level of dynamic to their music. In contrast to the first two records, the recording for „IX Equilibrium“ took place in Oslo. Next to a change of location also the keyboards stepped back, which, on the other hand, brought the guitar riffs more into focus. It’s not a dramatic change, but it’s a development of Emperor’s trademarks to a next level. A song I want to mention in this context is „The Warriors of Modern Death Metal“. It’s a sonic maelstrom that’s kept in mid-pace, including some more traditional metal elements. It’s impossible to not be impressed by this song with its infernal vibration. And there is the raging „The Source of Icon E“ which is a spot-on number with some high pitch metal screams, reminding of the late 80’s power metal.

Another two years later, in 2001, the Norwegian black metal spearheads published their so far final studio record. „Prometheus: The Disciple of Fire and Demise“ shows again another side of Emperor and it also indicates what was supposed to come later in time. „Prometheus“ is a progressive black metal masterpiece that was mainly composed by Ihsahn and it can be seen as a predecessor for his solo releases that followed this last Emperor record. The forth longplayer needs time to unveil it’s dark beauty. The level of complexity is much higher than it was with the debut and the songs have a certain Avantgarde factor embedded which works very well. After having released this final chapter of Emperor the band disbanded and it took till 2005 when the band found together again, playing two big shows the year after.

It was the gig in Wacken 2006 and also the Inferno Festival show that has been recorded, discs that are also part of this re-issue set. They are combined on „Live Inferno“ which shows the band in good shape and form, playing their classics in front of a hungry and enthusiastic crowd. Both discs capture the live atmosphere pretty well while also coming with a proper production that makes listening to a joyful and gloomy experience. However, „Live Inferno“ was already the band’s second live album. The first one was recorded back in 1999 at the LA2 in London and got the name of „Emperial Live Ceremony“. Release date was 2000 and it’s a snapshot of Emperor after their first three longplayers.

So, all in all this re-issue series is a comprehensive overview on Emperor’s groundbreaking black metal music. This band belongs to the imitators of bombastic black metal that includes more that crude metal. These albums set the scene and especially the first three longplayers are cornerstones, each of them setting the bar a bit higher. These records should be part of a solid metal collection – as CD or in vinyl.

CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue
CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue
CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue
CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue
CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue
CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue
CD review EMPEROR - 2017 re-issue of the entire back catalogue


  1. Into The Infinity Of Thoughts
  2. The Burning Shadows Of Silence
  3. Cosmic Keys To My Creations & Times
  4. Beyond The Great Vast Forest
  5. Towards The Pantheon
  6. The Majesty Of The Nightsky
  7. I Am The Black Wizards
  8. Inno A Satana
  9. The Ancient Queen
  10. Witches Sabbath
  11. Lord Of The Storms


  1. Alsvartr (The Oath)
  2. Ye Entrancemperium
  3. Thus Spake the Nightspirit
  4. Ensorcelled by Khaos
  5. The Loss and Curse of Reverence
  6. The Acclamation of Bonds
  7. With Strength I Burn
  8. The Wanderer
  9. In Longing Spirit
  10. Opus a Satana
  11. The Loss and Curse of Reverence (Live)


  1. Curse you all men!
  2. Decrystallizing reason
  3. En Elegy of Icaros
  4. The Source of Icon E
  5. Sworn
  6. Nonus Aequilibrium
  7. The Warriors of Modern Death
  8. Of Blindness & Subsequent Seers
  9. Sworn (remix by Ulver)


  1. The Eruption
  2. Depraved
  3. Empty
  4. The Prophet
  5. The Tongue of Fire
  6. In the Wordless Chamber
  7. Grey
  8. He Who Sought the Fire
  9. Thorns on my Grave


  1. I am the Black Wizards
  2. Wrath of the Tyrant
  3. Night of the Graveless Souls
  4. Cosmic Keys to my Creations & TimesIntroduction
  5. Ancient Queen
  6. My Empire's Doom
  7. Forgotten Centuries
  8. Night of the Graveless Souls
  9. Moon Over Kara-Shehr
  10. Witches Sabbath
  11. Lord of the Storms
  12. Wrath of the Tyrant


  1. Curse You All Men!              
  2. Thus Spake The Nightspirit 
  3. I Am The Black Wizards
  4. An Elegy Of Icaros                
  5. With Strength I Burn             
  6. Sworn 
  7. Night Of The Graveless Souls              
  8. Inno A Satana       
  9. Ye Entrancemperium  



  1. Infinity Burning                                        
  2. Cosmic Keys to My Creations & Times                                                 
  3. Thus Spake the Nightspirit                   
  4. An Elegy of Icaros                                                  
  5. Curse You All Men!                              
  6. With Strength I Burn                             
  7. Towards the Pantheon                          
  8. Majesty of the Nightsky                         
  9. The Loss & Curse of Reverence                            
  10. In the Wordless Chamber                                                         
  11. Inno A Satana

DISC 2                                                            

  1. Intro / Into The Infinity Of Thoughts / The Burning Shadows Of Silence Medley                                        
  2. Cosmic Keys To My Creations And Times                           
  3. Thus Spake The Nightspirit                    
  4. An Elegy Of Icaros                                                    
  5. Curse You All Men!                                 
  6. Wrath Of The Tyrant                             
  7. With Strength I Burn             
  8. Towards The Pantheon                         
  9. The Majesty Of The Nightsky                                  
  10. The Loss And Curse Of Reverence                                          
  11. In The Wordless Chamber                     
  12. Inno A Satana / Opus A Satana (Part 1)                                    
  13. I Am The Black Wizards                        
  14. Ye Entrancemperium                                                                 
  15. Opus A Satana (Part 2)