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What Started It All - 99%

noinnocentvictim, September 30th, 2005

This album cannot be given a price, nor can it be granted a true numerical value, as it established what would soon be the greatest band of all time. It's a short, simple 4-track demo, yet is also one of the most important.

This CD starts with "I Am the Black Wizards," which is one of the greatest songs ever written, and even though keyboards are hardly accessible through the deep layers of distortion and guitar melodies, this still lives on as an excellent track. It ends with a profound sort of feel to it, and you begin to wonder if this song will ever be topped.

The next song introduces itself with a way that will allow you to see through the layers of distortion for once. Double bass blasts from the drums come off as subtle, though they are one of the driving forces behind this song's intro. Solid drumming aside, the the synthesizers are very prominent in this song, adding a nice background touch, yet not deriving from the greatness of the guitar lines to be found within this song. Melodies play out in a way that seems to lead you to believe you are about to encounter something greater than just a song. These melodies keep adding up, and will be stuck in your head for days--no, weeks--after this song is given a few listens to prove its worthiness.

"Night of the Graveless Souls" kicks things up again, bursting right in with guitar melodies that are present yet easy to get lost within under the bursting of the drums and song's overall gloomy atmosphere, complemented by an arpeggio progression on the keyboards before a moment of soft clarity serving as a segue into more chaos. This song's form is the best that Emperor released out of two or three different renditions. Synthesizers are clear, yet once again do not derive at all from the guitars or drums.

"Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times" is another classic to be re-released along with "I Am the Black Wizards" on Emperor's "In the Nightside Eclipse." This version has synthesizers, but in all fairness, the re-release of this song painted a better picture with clearer, darker sounding keyboards. This song is very memorable, regardless.

This is the greatest demo ever, and achieves a sound almost equal to perfection.