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Emperor: not bad; Enslaved: excellent! - 90%

captain_mickeh, June 29th, 2006

(I’m going to review this album on the whole, rather than reviewing the EP from each band individually)

This album shows the early works from two highly-regarded Black Metal bands, Emperor and Enslaved. It combines Emperor and Enslaved’s first releases outside a demo.

I’m going to admit: the bands don’t really go that well together on one CD. The sound of bot EP’s are different, and the mood set by Emperor’s outro track isn’t a great song to go alongside Enslaved’s intro, though if you treat the album for what it is – two EP’s that just happen to be on the same album, and not as one album that is meant to flow – then this release is fantastic.

The CD starts off with four Emperor tracks from the era Mortiis was still in the band. If you’ve heard Emperor’s Nightside Eclipse, then you’ll be familiar with two of the songs. To be fair, the songs on this EP aren’t “worse”, they are “different”. The keyboard will be one notable different (there’s less of it here), and also the guitars sound different. There are some good songs on this EP, though overall they are nothing special compared to other Emperor releases.

The Enslaved EP is by far the best Enslaved I’ve ever heard. The booklet lists Enslaved as being tracks 5-11, but there’s really only 3 tracks. There is fair variation through each track, which makes for an interesting listening experience. The tracks on Hordanes Land use different sounding keyboards for each track, so it is different from other Enslaved for that reason.

Total time is 20:18 for Emperor and 30:45 for Hordanes Land. The CD is 51:03 total – a fair length. Highlights of the album include Emperor’s “Wrath of the Tyrant” and Enslaved’s “Slaget I Skogen Bortenfor”.

This is a great collector’s album, and a great CD to keep in a Discman, for example, as it has two great EPs on one disk. These EPs can, however, be obtained elsewhere. Emperor re-released their Wrath of the Tyrant demo along with this EP on the same CD, and Enslaved released Vikingligr Veldi with the Hordanes Land EP as a bonus CD.

If you have one of these EPs already, you may as well spend the same amount of money you’d otherwise be spending on this CD to get one of the aforementioned albums, so you get the EP plus a bonus album. If you don’t have either of these EPs yet then this album is recommended.