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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: May 7, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.51/5 (90.22%) (92 Votes)

This is less a review than a mea culpa. I have gone on record several times as saying I do not enjoy Black Metal, and in general I do not. In fact I would have to say that in general I hate Black Metal: the monotonous blastbeats, the shrieking vocals, the bad production and endlessly repetitive satanic lyrics. Ugh. Only doomdeath is more tedious than "Kult" or "Troo" black metal. And even worse than the music are the dedicated fans. You will not find a more xenophobic, ignorant, close-minded crew than the juvenile corpsepainted crank-pullers that are the hard core of black metal fandom. I just don’t want anything to do with any of the fuckers.

So, with that in mind, why in Hell am I giving this, one of the essential Black Metal albums, a perfect score? Because this is just an awesome fucking album, I don’t give a rat’s ass what genre you want to put it in. "Anthem’s" storms over absolutely everything in its way like a goddamned hurricane. After an enforced break from recording due to certain members’ jail terms, Emperor came back with this album and it was pretty much worshipped all over the world. Insahn and co. took the basic sound of black metal, layered it with evil keyboards, whispers, screams, and even some clean vox, and then they cranked the whole motherfucking brew up to 11. It’s hard to believe any album could be as intense, aggressive, and complex as this one, and even harder to believe they could keep it up for a whole CD, but they did. From the gloomy, atmospheric "Alsvartr" through the Euronymous-penned riff of "Ye Entrancemperium", the furious "Thus Spake the Nightspirit", the colossal "Loss and Curse of Reverance" and the murderous "With Strength I Burn" there isn’t a wasted note on the album. Every track seethes with malice, hatred and uncompromising violence. The whole is like being run over by a train made of ice and iron skulls.

The CD case is extremely cool, with the now-familiar monochrome art and the gnarly interior design. You can tell Emperor are from the old days of black metal, because you can actually read their logo, something you can never do with BM bands these days. The re-issue I have has 3 bonus songs, of which the 2 studio cuts are fine, if not quite as good as the rest of the album. The 3rd is a live cut of "Loss and Curse", which I could have done without. There is also a CD-ROM track, a video of "Loss and Curse", which is pretty cool, but renders the CD essentially unplayable in my computer. Man, I hate that.

It’s not every day a single album comes close to redeeming the sins of an entire genre, especially a genre as obnoxious as black metal has become. But "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk" comes very very close. It rules supreme over other BM wannabes, and makes Dimmu Borgir sound like Helloween by comparison. Simply an awesome fucking album. Now, will someone please tell me what the hell a ‘welkin’ is?

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 Dakuroth)
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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