EMPEROR — Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk (review)

EMPEROR — Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk album cover Album · 1997 · Symphonic Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
After already creating one of the greatest albums, "In the Nightside Eclipse", Emperor decided to do it again right. This is one of the rare examples of when a band can make a large change in their sound and still do it right. Emperor deserves respect for doing something new instead of rehashing their sound when they were already at their peak, but also deserve more respect for the quality of this album on its own merit. Thus, Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk is a highly recommended black metal album with tons of symphonic elements that bring out their best.

Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk is fantastic for the wall of sound that's all over the place. It's completely ahead of its time, and instead of the symphonics being cheesy and overblown, they melt perfectly into the other instruments to give of an epic feeling without the cheese, which is the problem with so many of Emperor's "successors". The guitars are sharp and heavy, leaving off most of the rawness from the previous album. And, of course, no Emperor album would be complete without Ihsahn's pure, sharp, evil shrills, which pierce right through the sound and deliver all the demonic feeling of hell.

The songs work well to build the atmosphere of the album, so while the songs are memorable and the riffs are great, they don't really stand out from each other. Metalheads should be familiar with "Thus Spake the Nightspirit", though, which features some pre-avant garde Ihsahn styled riffs and guitar solo. Its driving 12/8 rhythm gives off a frantic pace, and goes into a heavy slow drive towards the end. "With Strength I Burn" may also be one of the greatest metal songs on the Earth, featuring some of the most epic-sounding arpeggios, and a clean section towards the end that would break the most kvlt black metaller into tears.

Ultimately, those starting looking into black metal need to listen to this guy. It's a classic album, and will be around for many years to come. In its original form, its symphonic metal that does everything right before the followers got everything wrong. It's a complete symphonic metal orgy of chaos and darkness, and you won't regret the purchase.
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