Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Damn-Near PerfectRepresentation of the Band - 96%

Chainedown, January 7th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2009, DVD, Candlelight Records

Live Inferno (the boxed set version) is a bundle of the double-disc 'Live Inferno' release and 'Live at Wacken Open Air 2006 - A Night of Emperial Wrath’ DVD. There is no difference in terms of the contents of CDs and DVD with the separately-issued versions. However, what you do get with the boxed set version is a more complete sense of what Emperor is made of, and that is a huge delight for an Emperor fan like me.

The first CD covers Emperor’s live recording from Inferno Festival in Norway, while the latter CD and the DVD cover their appearance at Germany’s Wacken Open Air. Both performances are very heavy on the earlier works. Here is a breakdown of the songs Emperor chose to perform:

- 1 from Wrath of the Tyrant EP (Inferno Festival only)
- 8 from In the Nightside Eclipse (including the “Intro”, which is not credited)
- 3 from Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk at Wacken (4 for Inferno)
- 1 from Reverence EP (for outro)
- 2 from IX Equilibrium
- 1 from Prometheus

The tracklists on the CDs are nearly identical, which is quite unfortunate from a “get more for your money” perspective. It’s practically impossible to have different opinions (and also write separate reviews) on Inferno and Wacken CDs. As a result, I’ve been giving Inferno disc much more love than Wacken disc for listening, simply because Inferno performance features 3 more songs that was not performed at Wacken.

Nonetheless I give this package a really high rating because, well, the performances on both CDs are… breathtaking. My personal favorite moment is when Ihsahn and the backup vocalists NAIL the shrieks at the opening of “Curse You All Men!”, it’s done much better here than on the studio recordings. But the entire performance deserves praise. The seamless integration of Into the Infinity of Thoughts and The Burning Shadows of Silence, the guitar-drum rampage intro of The Loss and Curse of Reverence, their first performance ofIn the Wordless Chamber, mid-song singing on With Strength I Burn and Ye Entrancemperium... You can tell these guys practiced their asses off to perfect their songs, and as far as I’m aware no one misses a note or a beat, and the layered vocal performance is equally impeccable. And again, that goes for BOTH CDs.

Emperor songs are also very dense, where they play complex chords fast over blast beats. Despite that, the audio is very clean and each notes are more individually audible than their studio versions, particularly for songs from and before Anthems at Welkin at Dusk. Thanks to this these recordings, my sense of appreciation for their compositional skills grew deeper. These recordings are a must-have for those who enjoy Emperor’s compositions but do not like the production quality of the original recordings.

The quality of performance is also enhanced by the fact that Ihsahn keeps his talk between the songs brief and minimal. They are EMPEROR after all - they reign supreme over the crowd, rule purely by the merits of their music, and there’s no need for Ihsahn to ramble on to please the crowd.

Video experience is also highly satisfactory. This is a performance filmed in 2006 and the video is a bit grainy by today’s standard, but that should be forgiven (i.e. not the band’s fault). I’m happy with the solid approach to how the filming is done - somewhat frequent view changes between cameras, but no unnecessary camera actions like zoom-ins. Most importantly, there is also no stupid tampering with the sound balance and quality - it’s as good as it is on the CD. Ihsahn also decides to wear a Bowser-esque metal shoulder plates for the last two songs (I Am the Black Wizard and Inno a Satana), a rather cute homage to their early days of church-burning "kvlt" days.

There are two complaints for the DVD, both small ones. One is that cameras on live performance do not emphasize enough on the fretboard, the picking, and the drumming - if you want to admire the technical prowess of the band members’ performance or steal a technique or two from them, then you have to do with the bonus footage on the DVD that includes Ihsahn and Samoth’s guitar lessons, otherwise you might be better off searching other video clips on YouTube. But as an entertainment at your home, this is a banger of a performance.

The other minor complaint I have for the DVD is that the bonus footage, which sews together all the filmed footage of the band from their 2005-2007 reunion tour across Europe and the U.S., is a single giant lump of 2-hr long footage. The footage is at least sequenced in chronological order, but the band could have at least segmented it for better navigation for viewing at home. But the bonus footage shows a bit of everything, from interviews to guitar lessons to bootleg-level films of their live performances from ALL the venues they played.

While the nearly-identical tracklist is disappointing as a purchased product, this package nonetheless do much justice to Emperor’s craft. Samoth, the guitarist, once called this release a “final nail in the coffin for Emperor” and after enjoying the entire stuff offered here, I would have to agree 100%.

The Emperor is Dead, Long Live the Emperor!