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Forgotten Ashes Of A Long Dead Fire - 99%

hellhippie, March 26th, 2009

This band's name will always be associated the now infamous church burnings and yes even a murder that took place in the early to mid 1990's in Norway all in the name of black metal . Now while most of us have an opinion on this Norwegian black metal phenomenon I would really just like to focus on the music . The one thing that must be stated though is that many of these bands had what can only be described as total conviction and the utmost dedication to what they believed in . Emperor will always be known for making great music . They have produced countless symphonic black metal anthems and are praised as one of the longest standing or at least longest producing Norwegian black metal outfits ever (along with Darkthrone of course) . I honestly don't care about all that . Personally I can't stand symphonic black metal and find it to be an absolute abomination to the very definition of the core of black metal . Black metal has meant as much to me as death metal has in my life (and trust me that is a lot) . I saw and still see no need for such things as harps and synthesizers and anything that comes directly or indirectly from an orchestra to be associated with evil music . Sure an intro to a song is fine but the point must be made . Anyway Emperor's "Wrath of the Tyrant" demo violently vomited out anything that would ever be even remotely associated with an orchestra and for that alone I will never understand the direction this band took . I actually don't like Emperor after this demo's release but they did make this demo and that is all I need from them . This demo for those who have not heard it is completely different from anything they would produce after "Wrath of the Tyrant's" initial release .

This is black metal; period . The production is so raw that your knuckles will bleed after carrying this over to your stereo to play it . The intro on this alone will conjure up images of ancient unholy battle's for the heavens . It is the only place that a "symphonic" description would rear it's very unwelcome head on this demo . The intro also provides a perfect sonic precursor as to what is about to dominate the listeners ears, pure evil .

The guitar with it's suffocatingly grim tone plays some of the sickest riffs I have ever heard in my life . The structures of the songs are well ahead of their time on "Wrath of the Tyrant" and should have continued being produced exactly like this on this bands later works . They are perfectly executed on every second of this demo with many highlights scattered throughout this overall gruesome hateful body of work . I have always loved the opening riff to "My Empire's Doom" as it is both well thought out and perfectly delivered . Then there's the absolute devastatingly heavy middle slower riff in "Forgotten Centuries" also that shows that while the guitars can and do speed up with sheer blinding speed effectively, they can also slow down and be just as cold, grim and convincing . These are only two examples of the great guitar work contained on here and there are many others as well trust me . Simply put these are some of the rawest most perfectly evil songs ever written and should be treasured as such .

The bass is just as disgustingly delivered as the guitars and adds just enough bottom heaviness to the sound as to keep it somewhat grounded . Many later black metal releases contain a higher pitched endless assortment of trilling and grinding but this particular demo does not . Instead it holds a completely dominating ancient rotten heavy sound that sounds like a soundtrack for the armies of hell . The pureness of the drums alongside the bass are a masterful example of how this band made a song come together so perfectly . The constant cymbal crashes add an extra accentuating appeal on this demo as they are more prominent sounding in the mix . The drums are recorded well and played even better and somehow actually have a malicious tone to them . Now drums usually don't hold a tone as a guitar, bass or vocalist would but whether it's just the unbelievable evilness of the complete sound that Emperor produced here or that they simply do "Just Sound Evil" is a definite point of interest . At any rate, to me they simply do just that "They sound evil" . The way the ride cymbal is ridden or the way the crash cymbal is endlessly tortured adds an extra defining sound to the overall coldness of the music . It is a perfect drum sound for what is, in actuality, my favorite demo from any Norwegian black metal band .

The vocals are as evil sounding as one would hope to find in any form of heavy music . The continuous echo that dominates Ihsahn's grim, cold, black voice adds to the amazing feel that he had for the music produced here . The way he sonically portrays a message of pain and eternal suffering through his vocals are completely unique . You literally feel the fire burning his blackened soul as he more than gets his unholy ancient message across to all who would hear it . These vocals are so evil and so infested with hatred that it almost seems like he is singing through the devil himself . They are ancient sounding and have a dominating gruesome appeal . No other vocals would even come close to rounding this amazing demo out like Ihsahn's do .

This is a truly amazing release that would appeal to fans of other perfect evil releases like Darkthrone's "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" or Beherit's "Oath of Black Blood" . The unbelievably evil "Wrath of the Tyrant" is for me, the perfect black metal demo . So if your looking to hear what Emperor sounded like before they incorporated a string section into their music this would be the exact demo you are looking for . I still can't believe what happened to this band as they were along with Darkthrone the greatest thing that ever called itself Norwegian black metal . Truly Perfect .....................