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Emperor - Live Inferno - 99%

Ikil, May 9th, 2009

When I started getting into more extreme forms of music, two bands showed me the way. Opeth and Emperor. Whilst Opeth helped me appreciate different elements in metal and music for that matter, Emperor would introduce me to my favourite genre of all..Black Metal.

To this day, they remain my favourite black metal band and remain in my top three bands of all time. For me, no black metal band can match the skill, atmosphere and elements Emperor produced. With their cold, dark and epic atmosphere guided by those great atmospheric synths, some of the most memorable riffs of all time (for me no band has produced a tremelo riff like Emperor), the most memorable songs, and the great vocals of Ihsahn, who to this day remains my favourite musician of all time. Of all the bands I want to see live, Emperor remains top of that list.

When it was announced in 2005 that Emperor were reuniting to headline Wacken 2006 and go on tour, I was so keen to go except working part time at the time was not going to get me far, so I had to forget about it. If it had happened today, fuck, I'd be over there in minutes! So I remain hopeful that they just might tour here after all.

At least one good thing has come out of not being able to see them live yet, and that is with the release of 'Live Inferno', which is a three disc set. Two live cds (Live at the Inferno Festival and Live at Wacken) and a DVD which is them playing Live at Wacken in 2006. What a phenomenal release this is. Of all my favourite live albums from Iron Maiden's 'Live After Death' to Between The Buried And Me's 'Colors Live', 'Live Inferno' in time could very well become my favourite live album of all time.

Everything on this is just amazing. The sound quality, the picture quality, the musicianship, the atmosphere, the set list. Given the fact that Emperor had been broken up for five years before this, their touch had not been lost. The tremelo picked riffs sound sooo fucking good on this. At times they sound better then they did on the studio recordings (In The Nightside Eclipse didn't have the best production). In fact, all the riffs have a great epic feel and hearing this from a live perspective is much more appreciative then hearing it from the studio.

Trym's drumming is blistering on every song and it is so impressive. The synth work is so theatrical and like always, it adds so much to Emperor's distinctive sound and atmosphere. And Ihsahn has not lost that 'Necro Starscream' shriek hehe. Of course, the clean vocals rule to but of course they don't sound as good as they do on cd. His guitar work is brilliant as always, being able to play the lead while providing the vocals. He is such an underrated guitarist. The solos he plays on 'Thus Spake The Night Spirit', 'Curse You All Men' and 'With Strength I Burn', for example, almost match the tremelo riffs or 'I Am The Black Wizards' and 'Cosmic Keys To My Creations And Times'. So impressive. He plays with great feel and almost looks effortless at times. It is also nice to see Samoth do some of the lead work on the DVD to.

They play all my favourites pretty much. The 'Infinity Burning' melody, which is half of 'Into The Infinity Of Thoughts' and 'The Burning Shadows Of Silence' put together is done perfectly. All the songs they play from 'In The Nightside Eclipse' sounds fantastic (that album dominates the set list to :-D ). They only play three songs from the last two albums which isn't bad (would have liked them to play 'The Tongue Of Fire' instead of 'In The Wordless Chamber' though hehe). The songs they play from 'Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk' are my favourite ones as well. The best song of course is 'With Strength I Burn', easily my favourite song of all time. Awesome that they played 'Wrath Of The Tyrant' as well. :-)

The set list on both cds are pretty much the same, but on the Inferno Festival disc, they also play 'Wrath Of The Tyrant', 'Ye Entrancemperium' and 'Opus A Satana'. So yeah, the Inferno Festival disc is the much preferred of the two. The backstage footage is pretty cool as well with various bootleg material, as well as interviews and even footage of them doing guitar lessons which is pretty cool as well.

The DVD...simply put, EPIC. Great sound, great picture quality, great atmosphere to as it is at Wacken so there is a HUGE crowd there to see them. The only thing negative to say is that the camera doesn't focus much on Ihsahn doing his lead work like it does on 'Emperial Live Ceremony'.

In closing, this is perfect for Emperor fans. It will not disappoint. Everything amazing about Emperor is shown right here. This is a perfect example why, for me, Emperor will always be the greatest black metal band ever. You seriously need to check this out!

Ikil