In the Nightside Eclipse album cover
In the Nightside Eclipse

Emperor

1994
Candlelight Records

Hard to imagine how scary this must’ve sounded in 1994, surrounded by all the vague tales of church burnings and ritual murder coming from the peaceful banality of Norway, but it intimidates even now. Barely even sounds like music at times. Breaking from the blues tradition that informed metal from Black Sabbath onwards, Emperor and their fellow travelers pioneered a low-fi intensity informed by neoclassical melodies. Emperor’s big contribution? Symphonic keyboards that made the cacophony sound as grand as the houses of the holy incinerated by their brethren.

Jeff Treppel

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