I have a couple of friends who travelled to Europe to see Emperor play “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk”, probably thinking it will never happen in Australia.
Well fortunately for me, and many others, that was not the case, and the announcement of the Australian tour got many of us very excited. You see, Emperor are a very special band to many of us Black Metallers, and were a pillar of our Black Metal worship back in the ’90s.
From the demo, followed with a split release with Enslaved and finally a full length with In The Nightside Eclipse, the peak of their powers came with ‘Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk’, which whilst not my favourite Emperor recording, is, without doubt, a landmark album that pushed Black Metal as far as it could without becoming something else.
Ruins kicked things off with a solid performance before an appreciative crowd before Ihsahn and co hit the stage and the epic intro to Anthems… got things started.
Straight off the bat, I was surprised to see Emperor actually playing the intro, and not relying 100% on an intro tape. I managed to get basically front and centre, which worked out well as the keyboards were less dominant from my standpoint allowing the Guitars to shine through a little more than what they do on the recording of Anthems…
Ihsahn is clearly the front man, playing the more intricate guitar parts including leads, on top of the clean and harsh vocals.
He is a very talented man but takes nothing away from the other three members, especially Trym on the kit. I could barely see him, but he hits those drums hard and with precision, and it wasn’t until the outro that I heard any mistake, proving they are at least human.
To see this album from start to finish in a live environment showed they were a step ahead of nearly all extreme metal bands in delivery. Though showmanship and crowd participation may not be their strong point, it is fair to say this is not party music.
An encore set followed, commencing with Curse you All Men before they played 4 songs from “In the Nightside Eclipse”, which was a great way to finish off a great night. Witnessing my favourite song of theirs, I Am The Black Wizards, towards the end of the show was one of the ultimate live music highlights for me.
Thanks to Soundworks and Direct Touring for doing what those before them couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) ever do! Get em back for an “In the Nightside Eclipse” gig!
Reviewed by Glenn Lynch
Photos by William Adam Russ