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I really can't tell you for certain why this album is not enjoyable at all. I really can't. While listening to it I think to myself, you know this isn't half bad. But giving that I've had this CD for almost three years, and I've only been able to listen to it beginning to end one time, I have to say that this album must suck ass.
It's like this, every few months I'll go looking through my shelf for a CD to listen to that I haven't paid attention to in a while. And a couple times I've picked this one. I'd pop it in my CD player, and (exceptions being recently in preparation for this review) get through like three songs and then turn off. Were my ears bleeding from the painful drivel I was hearing? Not at all. I was just bored. REALLY BORED.
And that’s the best reason I can give as to why this album does not deserve your attention. Unless of course you're a huge Emperor fan, in which case this still may appeal to you, Because all the elements are still there, just arranged in a way that makes it just a dense buzzing of symphonic and metal instrumentation that doesn't really lead to anything. There’s no build up to a dramatic climax or epic mood changes and atmosphere to this album. Just a lot of admittedly original keyboard swirls and chugging guitar chords. Throw in some operatic vocals and this album doesn't know or care what is.
Where’s the haunting keyboard break that leads to a crashing finish like on Into the Infinity of Thoughts? The transitions of The Majesty of the Night Sky? Or that bleak black metal trademark that engulfs their masterful self-titled E.P.? It isn't there. To be honest, this album kind of just comes off as wank. The guitars are as technical as ever, with tones of riffs and flitting tap-filled mini solos, and there’s a fuck load of keyboard orchestration, and there’s vocal acrobatics that would make Leona Lewis upset. And there’s just nothing in it for me.
The productions really clean and balanced, but is that what we wanted to happen? Fuck, In the Nightside Eclipse has one of the most lopsided production jobs ever, and that works fine, because it fits the music. I don't want Emperor sounding like some polished tech-prog band! But, that’s pretty much what we have here.
Not to say this album is completely worthless (again, die-hard fans may like this whole package) because a couple moments are there that don't make me smack myself for shelling out the eight bucks or whatever it was. First of all, the first track, Curse You All Men! is really good. The King Diamond shriek in the beginning leading into some guitar scales with a buildup of strings. Very good. The Intro to Of Blindness and Subsequent Seers is pretty good too. And Nonus Aequilibrium has a few guitar fills that I dig. But in the end, even the good aspects of this album aren't what I want from an Emperor album. Not one bit.
But, for a few redeeming moments sprinkled amidst the shit storm, Emperor's IX Equilibrium shirks by with a 31 out of 100 or a 2 out of 5.
Curse You All Men
Uhh... the packaging is pretty....