Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Ensorcelled!, 20 April 2011
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This review is from: Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk: Remastered (Audio CD)
The major debut album was unutterably fantastic. This follow-up is purely astounding. What came after this however is even better, which may give you some idea as to the majesty of creativity on show and how privileged I feel to have these 4 albums to return to time and time again.

'Alsvartr' begins beautifully. It is testament to their growth and ability that they can take their time to begin their opus. Towards the end the track turns into something quite different. There was a slight cringe when the synthesised medieval horns sounded about a minute to the end but it's all part of the joy of loving this band; to embrace the uncool, cheesy aspects completely immerses you within the creation. The first 3 tracks that follow are not my favourite but still kick any of their peers into the background, '..Nightspirit' being my pick of the 3. After this, however, there is nothing but classic, classic, classic all the way.

'The Loss and Curse of Reverence' is stunning. It sounds like a programmed machine on the rampage, it's the only way I've got to describe it - it's beyond music. The wonderful 'Acclamation of Bonds' scythes in afterwards with its own inbuilt excellence. The mid-section is a sublime masterclass on how to make an Emperor track; its fast, raw and heavily structured but with slight musical breaks in the cloud that become so much more than they should because of the gulf between them and the ferocity and darkness that has passed. 'With Strength I Burn', dare I say slows things down a little. It's 8 minutes of perfect musicianship. There are the shredding moments but what sets it apart from the rest is that it is actually a chorus/verse song and not a diverse melee of atonal sound. The peerless closer instrumental, 'The Wanderer' is both thoughtful and hummable and edgy and dark and basically everything and more. As with the album as a whole, it is a microcosm of a universe of possibilities.

The added tracks are hit and miss. 'In Longing Spirit', from the EP Reverence is ok but drags a bit. 'Opus A Satana' is quite awful. It's a competely synthesised version of 'Inno A Satana' although it's hard to tell at points if there is any similarity. It's just not really very inspiring and where a little bit of medieval jousting music is ok, a whole track is rather a bit too much. The live 'Loss and Curse...' is as most live tracks (apart from all of Maiden's Live After Death), it's probably better if you were there.

If you are an Emperor novice it's probably best to start with either IX Equilibrium or Prometheus so that when you do get to Anthems... you'll be taken by surprise all over again.
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