Eventually there comes a time when the hype about a band becomes superfluous, and their status alone speaks volumes. Such is the case with Emperor, the black metal gods hailing from Telemark, Norway. Emperor has become known as one of the originators of symphonic black metal that Norway is internationally renowned for. Often described as the greatest and most unique modern black metal act of all time, Emperor has sold well over 500,000 albums worldwide. Their cult album In the Nightside Eclipse has been ranked among albums like Slayer’s Reign in Blood and Venom’s Black Metal as a definitive masterpiece of our time.
Beginning life as a trio in the spring of ’91 with Samoth (drums), Ihsahn (guitar/vocals) and Mortiis (bass), the band quickly recorded and circulated the now legendary Wrath of the Tyrant demo. It was this demo that brought them to the attention of the then still-fledgling Candlelight record label. A deal was inked, Samoth moved to guitar and Bard Faust was recruited for the now vacant drum stool. By the end of 1992, the band had recorded their half of the Emperor/Enslaved split CD which surfaced early the following year. Mortiis departed, and was later replaced by Tchort. The press response was justifiably excellent and by the summer of ’93 Emperor were recording once more, this time working on their debut full-length album In the Nightside Eclipse. By the time of the albums release in 1994 they had become without a doubt one of the most important bands in the genre, gathering worldwide critical acclaim and a rabid fan base to match.
In autumn of ’93 a series of headline-grabbing events took place, which lead to turbulence within the scene, causing Emperor to suffer some instability within the bands line-up. Despite these events, the entity of Emperor would come out even stronger in the end. Eventually a new permanent line-up was announced. Alver had replaced Tchort on bass, and Trym (ex-Enslaved) had replaced Faust on drums. The bones of what would become their most epic and majestic material to date were taking shape. By the end of ’96, now fully prepared and rehearsed, they went back into the studio. First the Reverence EP announced their return to the fold, followed up in early ’97 with what is without doubt one of the most ambitious and important black metal releases to date… Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, an album of epic savagery! Not only beautiful, but bestial in it’s wide ranging scope. The press agreed. Not only was Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk featured in almost every Album of the Year poll across the globe, but actually won the album of the year in both Terrorizer (UK) and Metal Maniacs (USA).
Since the release of the genre defining Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk album, things were active in the Emperor camp. Following a couple of tours in 1997, and appearances at Dynamo and Milwaukee Metalfest in 1998, the band announced that bass player Alver would be leaving. As a result of this, Ihsahn handled all bass duties on the upcoming IX Equilibrium album. IX Equilibrium was their single most breathtaking vision to date. Surpassing even the mighty Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk for its sheer scope of diversity, the album utilized elements from their traditional metal roots, operatic vocals and of course their trademark symphonic soundscape.
In 2001 Emperor released what was to become their swansong, Prometheus – the Discipline of Fire and Demise. An epic and progressive metal album that once and for all marked Emperor as one of the most adventurous and gifted black metal band of all times. With the release of Prometheus – the Discipline of Fire and Demise the band also announced their departure as an active band. “The Emperor is dead, long live the Emperor” roamed the metal world.
However, the legacy of Emperor was held high by their loyal fan base, and since the bands departure, their credibility has only grown stronger. In 2003, the best-of double album Scattered Ashes – A Decade of Emperial Wrath was released, and celebrated many of the fine moments of Emperor’s career. In 2005, Emperor took the metal world by storm at a surprise show in Oslo when they announced that they were reforming for a few selected reunion shows. In 2006 Emperor will headline Norway’s Inferno Festival, Germany’s Wacken Open-air, and four exclusive shows in New York City and Los Angeles. Beyond that, the future, as ever, is a mystery waiting to be unravelled…
Live Inferno (2009) – BUY
Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath (2003) – BUY
Prometheus – The Discipline of Fire & Demise (2001) – BUY
IX Equilibrium (1999) – BUY
Emperor & Wrath of the Tyrant (1998) – BUY
Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk (1997) – BUY
In the Nightside Eclipse (1994) – BUY
No shows booked at the moment.