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Masterpiece from the Lords of Black Metal - 95%

Dead_Meat_Industry, January 5th, 2003

This album defines the genre of symphonic black metal. Well placed synth, adding a medieval atmosphere, intelligently composed guitar structures and impressive drumming. Emperor is my favorite band, and this is my favorite album from them. It is the perfect example of what black metal should be.

The opening track has a relaxing sound that places you in a Scandinavian forest filled with creatures of legend and myth. There is even a tastefully placed sound of an owl hooting in the intro to the song. After some whispered vocals, majestic keyboards announce the arrival of the Emperor, and the second track sets in. It is far more aggressive than the first track, and gives you an idea of what the rest of the album will be like.

The next tracks all contain those signature triumphant medieval keyboards and raging guitars. Ihsahn's screeching vocals carry you through hell and back, and Trym's complex drumming patterns will make your head spin. "Ensorcelled by Khaos" is an impressive track with beautifully written symphonic scores and guitar riffs. It also features some electronically altered vocals, which make it all the more enjoyable. The last few tracks are mostly instrumentals, with a symphony version of "Inno a Satana", renamed "Opus a Satana" at the end. This album truely deserves to be called a masterpiece.