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When black metal works at being terrifying - 90%

doomknocker, March 19th, 2009

EMPEROR was the first band that got me into black metal (this is versus CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR, which, according to jaded music journalists, are THE gateway bands into the style...shame on you!), and it was this album in particular that made me dive head-first into musical blasphemy. And since then it's been nigh impossible to find another black metal album that's as dark, chaotic, and frightening as this. Even their earlier works, while being essential metal classics, don't compare in terms of horror and darkness as this metallic act of malevolence. This has gotten a LOT of plays in my CD player and probably always will.

Each song is a refreshing collection of flesh-ripping riffs, crushing drumwork and sinister screams that are per usual of black metal, but the way EMPEROR uses them works at scaring the living hell out of you. Take into account killer tracks like "Curse You All Men!", "Sworn", and the faster half of "Decrystallizing Reason", which showcase how to make black metal a terrifying entity. Even when the album slows, songs like "Elegy for Icaros" and "Of Blindness and Subsequent Seers" are memorably dark hymns that envelope like so much amorphous blackness, suffocating the very light out of the listener.

So in the end, I found this to be a VERY satisfying album that helps prove that black metal is still a force to be reckoned with. No other band in the scene can compare to EMPEROR in terms of just about anything related to the genre.