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classics together - 91%

vorth, June 8th, 2005

This classic split album presents the early sound of two great black metal bands - my favourite, Emperor and Enslaved. Both of them went far away from their original sound throughout the years - this is the occasion to hear how they sounded in the way they were created.

The first side is the Emperor one. The band presents its raw, but still a bit melodic and pleasant side, though it's much closer to typical black metal. There's less speed, keyboards are used rarlier and not as offensively. The vocals are very screetchy, the production is not good, so the music has its black, evil atmosphere. However, the Emperor part consists of four great, classic songs, featuring such anthems like "I Am the Black Wizards" - one of the truly best songs black metal ever bred.

Enslaved's side is held in similar atmosphere. It is also raw, more evil and black than later albums, the most recognisable Enslaved elements are still marked. Great, cold riffs are combined with acoustics, keyboards and so on. What I really love in this album and in Enslaved at the whole, is the fact that those elements are used really thoughtfully and it is still riffs that build the album. In addition to all of that, the vocals are really great and maybe they are even the best I have ever heard. Enslaved makes its best in the last track, with all these things brought up to perfect.

All in all, this album shows the best of the early Norwegian classics. In my opinion Enslaved is a bit better here, though Emperor shows a very high level. However, we all know these bands of their later albums and this one will always be only an interesting part of their work.