on 4 September 2003
Throughout their life, Emperor have been responsible for releasing numerous classics. 'Prometheus' takes things to the next level, with their finest album yet.
Although Emperor will likely be remembered as a black metal band, 'Prometheus' has lost most of the hallmarks of the genre. Besides the death, thrash and classic heavy metal influences that appear throughout, the album has a very orchestrated sound. Although this is usually brought about through the usual metal instruments, the band do also apply the use of the more classical-orientated. The harpsichord intro to 'The Eruption' being a perfect example.
The result? An album of colossal proportions. It simply sounds huge, the word 'epic' being perhaps the simplest description. The tracks aren't so much songs as they are compositions. Besides the superb technical ability this trio displays, mainman, Ihsahn is an unbelievable composer. The sheer scope of the music is almost unparalleled nowadays - Tool, Opeth, Neurosis and The Postman Syndrome are a few that even begin to compare.
Its a shame that so few non-extreme metal fans will be tempted to explore this work of art. In some ways, it is more accessible than the majority of black metal albums, but at the same time, shows far greater depth. There are long-running Emperor fans who put the album down, but they are missing out on the point entirely. This is one of the greatest albums of all time.
on 6 May 2002
Emperor- 'Prometheus-the discipline of fire and demise' a truly epic masterpiece of total extreme metal madness. Leagues beyond all other true heavy metal. Harsher and more brutal than Dimmu Borgir and infinitely grander and more epic than the trademark COF black metal sound. Insanely beautiful, beautifully insane and everything that music of genuine inspiration should be- powerful, moving, crushing; these terms do it no justice. The introductory track, 'the eruption', is the most moving sonic experience I have ever had and undoubtedly as close to complete musical perfection as Emperor and particularly front man Isahn have ever come. And yet it doesn't stop there, every track on this album has its own brilliance and the completed work is something of incredible beauty, something to be revisited again and again. More approachable than some of the bands earlier work but without the integrity of the art being in any way compromised (as with some more 'commercially viable' black metal releases). Encapsulates everything I love about music in a single hour's divine thunder. Turn it WAY up, close your eyes and open the animal soul. Limitless...
on 5 February 2005
Ihsahn is an amzaing composer and his knowledge of music can be heard progressing over the numerous Emperor albums. I always knew that he had alot more to offer and that he was holding back, well hes finally let go. Prometheus sees Ihsahn letting go completely of the black metal stereotype and runs havoc over 9 tracks of essentially material written entirely by him. Whether this deserves the Emperor title is debateble but who cares when you've got the best metal album ever in your CD player and perhaps that best album of all time. It never stops, this album provides extremely heavy guitar riffs in parts and almost classic symphonic melodies in others. It crossses all the boundries, where as one band will tend to repeat one riff throught most of the song Ihsahn finds a good riff and then moves straight onto another taking you through a journey of epic proportion. The recording is spot on and the album gets better with every listen (confusing for the first few listens but dont dismiss it). Melodies upon melodies of beautifully crafted metal from pure hatred to pure beauty YOU MUST OWN THIS ALBUM.
on 12 November 2001
This is brilliant stuff. It's not black metal, but for those who think of themselves as true metalheads will realise just how good this is.
It's not as accessible as Wrath Of The Tyrant or Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk and some of the tunes are really hard to listen to. Trym has been using a wierdo stuttering style on some tracks which he used first I think on World Ov Worms and to be honest, the only track on Prometheus which benefits from it is Thorns On My Grave.
But, on the whole, this is a ridiculously good album which is still growing on me and has formed a Big Three, along with Reign In Blood and Master Of Puppets.
The standout tracks are In The Worldless Chamber (how intense is the kick-back after the neo-classical bit?) and Empty (the riff is like a hammer to the brain).
on 13 October 2001
This album is vastly enormously imensely brilliant... I read the Kerrang review which said that it was one of the greatest albums ever, and I HAVE to agree, this ranks alongside not just black metal classics such as Venom, Mayhem, Hellhammer etc or even just rock classics like Slayer, Iron Maiden, Metallica or Tool, but it surely is among the bands that are so good that only maybe once a decade one appears; The Beatles, U2, Nirvana. It completely dwarves everything they or any other black metal band have ever done before, even although they too were masterpieces. Each song blends to make this an uncompromising work of art with musicianship and skill never seen outside of Classic FM. They are no longer about corpse paint, burnt churches or dead "circle" members, they are now about finishing their career with the most astonishing album possible. Buy it. Now!
on 15 February 2005
Emperor's albums have never been less than amazing, but this just takes the band so much further than IX Equilibrium that it's properly awesome. It takes a while to really get into Prometheus - you have to actually listen to it, but when you do, it's worth it. All those old metal bands that went a bit crap - what they're missing is dramatics and that's what Emperor had.
Let's hope they reform.
on 9 July 2004
There's few bands who manage to make black, and darker things as a whole, sound as bleakly colourful as Emperor did. Their debut was to many poorly produced but the sound that emanated from the cracks was truly inspirational and genre busting. There are also few bands that can manage to successfully retire, leaving their past, present and future fan base with a collection of unmistakeable and utterly obliterating satisfactory albums, and then end their career with the finest album of their career. Some might say, including myself, that Emperor left the thrown leaving behind the most applaud able performance that black metal has heard.
A mere nine tracks is all it takes to create a masterpiece, according to the learning's of many under Emperor's reign. All nine of these expressive 'suites' Emperor have created are all distinctively Emperor, the churning, purposely under-tuned guitar riffs, the almost gurgling, horrifying vocals and the occasional flourishes of orchestration somewhere in the background, and occasionally allowed to have sections of their own to add to the seemingly haunted atmosphere. And when Emperor go full pelt, they are the best in the business and it is here for all to see, particularly in the blistering 'Grey' and the wonderfully turgid 'Depraved'.
Now if you're a first time venturer into black-metal, feel free to start here, it's a good place to start if you feel that you can take the exhaustive nature that each volume contains. However, if you've recently purchased Dimmu Borgir's somewhat tainted, 'Death Cult Armageddon', enjoyed the orchestral moments combining with the metal riffs and you've heard that Emperor are a symphonic black metal band, don't jump straight into here expecting every song to be beautifully orchestrated. When the orchestra is there it's magnificent, just don't expect to hear them perfectly. After all, 'Death Cult..' has incredibly crisp production, while 'Prometheus' has good production, but still remains gloriously turgid, where Dimmu Borgir lose some of their quality through that. Put simply, Emperor is black-metal first and foremost, and it shows. The orchestration is only used in the best places, when they are at their most apt. I would name moments, but there's that many individual moments on a mere 9 tracks, that it'd be confusing for both me and yourselves.
And that's what Emperor left us with, a dizzying, but utterly superb black metal masterpiece. Opener 'The Eruption' is exactly that. After the opening, whispered '...and after years in dark tunnels, he came to silence.... there was nothing', in comes a beautiful orchestral moment that is merely a tension builder for the absolutely obliterating assault that follows. And it's a damn long one. They all are, but they all work equally well and do not tire, both musically or in your own mind, such are the time changes and such is the musical montage put before you. The riff in 'The Prophet' for example is absolutely towering, even through the purposely slightly turgid production. Imagine if you will, a large microwave destroying a popcorn factory, and you get a vague idea of the magnitude of this riff, and of this album as a whole.
The closing 'Thorns On My Grave', however is Emperor's finest moment, it's a shame and an irony that it is the last song they will make together. At least for now. The orchestration and the apocalyptical lyrics and vocals come together at their most sweetest and horrendous in Emperor's goodbye, and they could only leave writing a song about dying slowly, which is what Emperor's reputation was expected to do. However, they are merely gaining more and more fans by the week, and 'Prometheus' is not only the best place to start if you feel like signing up to join this particular government, but is also Emperor's finest, and maybe even black-metal's finest achievement too. Intense, atmospheric and ultimately made to rule, Emperor's last will certainly be a lasting achievement and one that will influence many future genius' as the likes of Venom and Mayhem did with Emperor, and along with, maybe just under, Opeth's 'Blackwater Park', 'Prometheus' is the best album of the new millennium so far.
on 14 December 2010
I bought a copy of this album after trying out a couple of tracks on youtube.Whilst a lover of many diverse forms of extreme metal, I avoided what came under the black metal tag, thinking it all to be rasping vocals and tinny production, not to mention all the corpse paint.
So I missed this briliant album for nearly ten years!Honestly, if you love music that contains imaginative,dynamic, emotional, majestic, brutal and downright beautiful elements you should not miss this.The music carries you away on glorious soundscapes though remains true to a metal heart.
I am serious when I pronounce it the best album I have ever heard.Ihsahn, the writer of the songs and main guitarist, is a musical genius and I will be purchasing his solo stuff too.
Don't miss this masterpiece.
on 3 February 2009
It's such a shame to think that 'Prometheus: the Discipline of Fire and Demise' was Emperor's last studio offering, but they truly made it go out with a bang. 'Prometheus', I believe, has all the trademarks of a classic Emperor record: it's heavy, evil, eerie, and of course bears all the signature orchestral sounds Emperor use to really emphasise the evil nature of their sound. Although while it does echo the classic elements of such albums as 'Anthems' and 'IX Equilibrium', it is a completely new album altogether. Stand out tracks? 'The Eruption', 'Empty', 'Into the Wordless Chamber' and 'Thorns on My Grave'. What makes this album truly incredible is that it starts as powerful as it finishes with no holds barred and takes no prisoners. One of the greatest black metal albums to have ever been created, but then again what else would you expect from the masters themselves? Long live the Emperor!
on 17 April 2003
I had spent most of my time avoiding black metal, as Cradle of Filth's cheese was not very appealing and Dimmu Borgir were just overly extreme, but on hearing some of the tracks off this supreme album I ran straight down to the shops and bought it!
This album truly wipes out all its competition for quality black metal, going from extreme brutality to gentle mellowness seemlessly in a frenetic fashion that is simply amazing.
The addition of strings to their music, I believe, does not take away but adds to its grandiosity. Certainly, the strings in Empty are absolutely amazing.
Full on quality black metal. Make Venom proud!