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A bleak, necrophilia induced nightmare! - 84%

Whackooyzero, February 2nd, 2010

Think about it. In 1991-1992 when Emperor went about recording this demo, we were basically looking at three teenagers who wanted to prove themselves as a dark, aggressive, and insane band. This kind of hunger is very evident in Wrath Of The Tyrant as it literally sounds like it was recorded by demons.

Now, granted many black metal bands' early demos and albums sound like it was recorded by demons, but this album unusually so sounds even more like that because of the production, sound and presentation.

This demo is historically significant in that it is one of the few early Emperor recordings to feature the short lived lineup of Ihsahn on guitar and vocals, Mortiis on bass, and Samoth on drums. Though, they would soon become a quartet, they work surprisingly well as a trio.

When listening to this piece of black metal destruction(there are basically no symphonic parts on this album), you realize that the Ihsahn of 1992 was not the guitarist he would be 15, 10 or even 5 years later. He doesn't play around with harmonies, solos, counterparts, odd chord progressions or odd times signatures here(as he would do frequently from Anthems on). His riffs are extremely dark yet catchy, and relatively simple. Mortiis' bass, as is typical, almost completely inaudible, but what I can make out it just seems to follow the guitar(his lyrics are quite interesting however) and Samoth delivers a surprisingly competent performance. Ihsahn's vocals are totally necro and occasionally does a deep toned clean "chant" and there is a few growls as well.

So we begin with "Introduction" and "Ancient Queen". The former is a perfect intro into AQ. With strong riffs, unusual structure, and demonic vocals, it sets the standard for the rest of the demo.

Other highlights include the awesome "Forgotten Centuries" which has some brilliant riffs and a really fantastic atmosphere. You can really let you're mind run free with this album, and also "Night Of The Graveless Souls" with it's catchy riff, fantastic drumming and a pretty simple but memorable solo.

But the opus of the album is "Witche's Sabbath". There is quite a bit of variety in structure here, and some extremely memorable riffs. The messiness of this song really aids in the epicness.

But overall, the album really sounds like a living nightmare. It sounds like demon warriors bursting through hell, burning churches and slaying the innocent in the name of Satan. Granted, this could be taken as childish, and though I would usually agree, it really comes off as if they are dead serious and you really get detailed images from it.

The main downside here is that, overall, it doesn't leave a very lasting impression. If someone were to ask you about it you would think "oh yeah the horribly produced demonic sounding album", and other then a few riffs, not much else would come to mind. Still, it shows the band had great potential that would be fully realized on the upcoming albums.

Check this out.