|Review: Emperor - IX Equilibrium|
Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 1999
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: September 18, 2007
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
"IX Equilibrium" was the only Emperor full length missing from my collection (well, technically I'm also missing "Prometheus", but that's because I traded that piece of crap), so I figured I'd pick up that new limited edition box just released on Candlelight. I had heard this album once or twice more than 7 years ago and did not remember much of it. This is kind of half way between "Anthems..." and "Prometheus" - not quite the genius of the former, but a prelude to the wankery of the latter. Let's face it, the keyboards on this album just sound... fruity, although not as bad as on its successor. They just get in the way of some great guitar work and some demented drumming, sounding totally out of place most of the time - and sometimes burying everything else. I wish they had a keyboard-free special edition, this would just get better.
Keyboards aside, "IX Equilibrium" introduces some death metal elements (contrary to popular belief, Emperor did not "go death" with this one), and the resulting mix with fast-paced Black Metal is overall very good, quite a treat for the extreme music fan that likes it played fast. Despite the musical onslaught, sometimes this sounds a little bit bland, thanks to a production that could have been more life-like. Ishan does a pretty good job on vocals overall, mixing BM screeches and clean vocals (which do not always work, but it's not too bad even then.) The keyboards are omnipresent and, save for the aforementioned wankery, there are times when they are used in a fashion more reminiscent of the band's previous work, for a much better result.
This 2007 limited edition box (the rest of their full length discography got the same treatment) contains a digipak with the two bonus tracks that came with the original digipak edition (a live rendition of "Curse You All Men!" and an Ulver remix of "Sworn" - which I wish had been left out because it sucks beyond belief), a three-page "booklet" which contains the text of an interview in Terrorizer in 1999, and the actual booklet unfolds to show the lyrics on one side, and a poster on the other side (kind of lame for those who'd like to hang the poster.) I'd say that's not really worth picking up if you already have the original albums, unless you're the collector type.
2007 limited edition box reviewed.
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