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
3.5/5 ·
SilentScream213
Much like the debut, Anthems is a crowning achievement of Symphonic Black Metal. Incredibly talented musicians play extreme music with much more competence and ability than most Black Metal players, and the compositions are complex and layered. Every instrument is ever busy, a cacophony of epic darkness assaulting the listener with nonstop force. This thing is dense with complex arrangements, and despite all instruments staying at overdrive territory much of the time, the songs are written well (and production is strong too) so that no piece overpowers the other.

All of the main songs here are fantastic. Never a wasted moment with these compositions, full of unique riffing and deliciously icy keys, ominous choirs, and an insane rhythm section. The vocalist commands presence as well – really getting into some crazed dark fantasy persona in some of these tracks. We get classic Black Metal shrieks, but also some good operatic, layered cleans.

The non-Metal/filler tracks are a weakness. The intro is an offensive example that goes on almost 4 and a half minutes before letting us get to the meat, and the outro is good, but still the weakest real track to end on. Never understood why bands insisted on sandwiching albums between tracks like these. Still a fantastic album, but it hurts the listening experience.
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