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Excellent, but far too short - 85%

evilution, March 21st, 2003

While the music that is here is impeccable, I can't help but wish that there were more of it. 45 minutes is simply not enough for a modern live album, considering that is only about half the available space on a cd. That being said, this album is an amazing look at a very talented, if troubled, band.

The disc opens with Curse You All Men, the first song from IX Equilibrium, and it is a faithful reproduction of the original. At the end of this we can here the intro of Decrystalyzing Reason, one of my favorite songs from IX, and I wish they had recorded the whole thing. Following another great song, Thus Spake the Nightspirit, comes the first highlight, I Am the Black Wizards. Seeing as the production on this live album is light years ahead of both the demo and In the Nightside Eclipse, this one is a treat to listen to. The lead guitar isn't lost in the mix, and Ihsahn's vocals can also be fully appreciated. In addition to the better production, this song also benefits from Trym's amazing abilities behind the drum kit.

Continuing on, we get another song from IX, An Elegy of Icaros, which is probably the weakest song here. Even on the album it drags a bit, and here it really slows the set down. The next song, With Strength I Burn, picks right up where I Am the Black Wizards left off. In my opinion it is the best song on Anthems, and the improved production of the live album really highlights the clean singing and the spoken interlude.

The next song, Sworn, again comes from IX, and once again it is a solid performance, but nothing noteworthy. Following this comes Night of the Graveless Souls, the only song played from the Hordanes Land split album. This one is quite short and fast, and it is nice to see that Emperor remembers their more obscure material.

The end of the album is easily the strongest part. Inno a Satana, like I Am the Black Wizards, sounds amazing with the clearer production. Finally, they play the obligatory Ye Entrancemperium, of which nothing really needs to be said. All in all, if you are an Emperor fan already, this album shoudl already be in your collection, and if you are looking to get into them, this is definitely the best place to start.