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1 X Equilibrium

Emperor

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Album Review

Emperor needs little introduction. As one of the leading exponents of the extremely ill-reputed Norwegian black metal scene (known for true-life demonic acts ranging from church burning to outright murder), the group's fearsome reputation — on and off the stage — precedes them. And with their third full album, IX Equilibrium, the group once again shows absolutely no mercy for lesser mortals by delivering another sonic onslaught of nearly impenetrable proportions. Drummer Trym doesn't so much keep time as pummel his kit incessantly, while guitarists Ihsahn and Samoth contribute an equally oppressive wall of sound laced with keyboard textures so demonic they were seemingly concocted by the great horned one himself. The third track, "An Elegy of Icarus," is the first to scale back the violence during its heavily symphonic intro, but the furious pace resumes immediately thereafter, never to slacken again, albeit briefly on the nearly melodic "The Warriors of Modern Death." Far from a masterpiece, but hardly a stinker either, IX Equilibrium falls quite short of the group's earlier albums through sheer lack of diversity, and will prove indigestible to all but the most committed black metal fans. But that was most certainly Emperor's goal in the first place.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Notodden, Norway

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

When attention first focused on Norway's almost cartoonishly violent black metal scene in the mid-'90s, Mayhem were dubbed its godfathers, but most of the critical accolades were bestowed upon Emperor, whose musical innovations have had more impact on the genre than any other band. Norwegian black metal was rife with anti-Christian sentiment, but Emperor found novel ways of expressing it in their music; while their music could be furious and violent, the group was also influenced by the darkly majestic...
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