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Classic Review: Emperor - Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk
Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk

Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 1997
Duration: 48:58
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: August 6, 2002
Reviewed by: Dakuroth
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.51/5 (90.22%) (92 Votes)

Whatever you may think of Emperor's more recent releases (and we'll leave that debate in abeyance for the moment), its hard not to acknowledge the importance of their first two albums on the black metal genre. This, the second of them, showcases a band at the peak of their powers. The contrasting songwriting styles of Samoth's dissonant riffing and Ihsahn's meticulous harmony and melody arrangements mesh to perfection here, backed by Trym Torson's furious drumming.

Curiously, the album opens with a very quiet, atmospheric intro, with whispered vocals, clean guitar arpeggios and ambient noises, before growing into bombastic layers of horns and drums, with Ihsahn's chanting vocals. Then the scorching Euronymous-penned first riff of "Ye Entrancemperium" kicks in and so begins a furious medley of six songs which mix slow atmospheric sections, fast riffs and sweeping, epic layers of synths to create a utterly memorable listen. Track seven, "With Strength I Burn" is the centerpiece, eight minutes long, with harsh vocals and guitar colliding with melodic synths and clean singing, culminating with Ihsahn's excellent atonal solo. The album then fades out over a slow guitar instrumental. The reissued version includes the tracks from the "Reverence" EP, these are a re-recorded old song (passable), an orchestral version of "Inno A Satana" and a live track.

Really, I can't find enough superlatives to describe this album. Most black metal fans, of course, will already know this, but for anyone into the likes of Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth - buy this now and see how it utterly pisses on those pale imitators. Whether or not you like Emperor's later albums, this is their enduring legacy.

Additional Information

Bonus tracks on re-issue reviewed here:

  1. In Longing Spirit (Bonus)
  2. Opus a Satana (Bonus)
  3. The Loss and Curse of Reverence (Live)
  4. CD-ROM Track

More about Emperor...
Review: Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Emperial Live Ceremony (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: IX Equilibrium (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: In The Nightside Eclipse (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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