Review Summary: Emperor's oldest and most disgusting sounding output ever.
Emperor " Wrath of the Tyrant
I think my name is going to become synonymous with Emperor reviews, seeing as how this is my fourth review for this band. This quick little biography states everything that needs to be said about the band.
Eventually, there comes a time when the hype on a band becomes superfluous, and their status alone speaks volumes. Such is the case with Emperor, the black metal gods hailing from Telemark, Norway, who are without a doubt the most influential and respected band within their genre, having launched a scene that now threatens to burn its way out of the underground's charnel pit and engulf mainstream America in the blackest of flames.
Well this album was put on the shelves in 1996 but all of the songs are much older than that. They all date back to the early 90s when the band was brand new. There are some fan favorites on here that have appeared on other Emperor albums, like the classic "I Am the Black Wizards" and there are also songs on here that have been redone and placed on several of the band"s EPs. Also, I feel that I should make a comment on the production of these songs. It sucks. It"s about as good as a Darkthrone album, so it sounds like it was recorded using an answering machine (and possibly was, but I"m not sure.) Some people may like this though, because it certainly adds a feel to the whole album.
Let"s move onto the songs, shall we? The album takes no time to ease you in because you quickly hear the searing guitar riffs of "I Am the Black Wizards" kick right in, along with a great and evil sounding black metal scream. The drums are also pretty awesome on here too; it"s loaded with blast beats and double bass drum mastery. The vocals are also tremendous, being one of black metal"s finest voices. This song is one of the highlights on the album, because there really isn"t a boring part to the song. There are always good riffs, fast drums, and good vocals and keyboard parts.
The title song is next, Wrath of the Tyrant. The synths add a whole lot to the song, giving it a spooky atmosphere. The guitar doesn"t do much in this song, but they keep the song going with a nice heavy feel. The tone might bother some people because it doesn"t really have any bass to it. The drums are always good and do more than just blast beats. There are some head-bobbing parts that impressed me. Another good song, but I was hoping for more. Guess what? You do. The third track is called Night of the Graveless Souls and this is another big Emperor hit that you can also find on the band"s self titled EP. The synths are once again quite apparent and are my favorite part of this song. The rest of Emperor"s typical elements are also there and never let up. This song displays great songwriting, and ranks right up there with I Am the Black Wizards.
If you"re an Emperor fan and you"re reading this, you"ve probably heard their album In the Nightside Eclipse. The next song is another one off of that one, and it"s called Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times. The screams on this track are quite impressive, and there"s also a guitar solo! It"s pretty melodic and it sounds awesome. I"d love to hear more stuff like this in Emperor songs, but sadly you don"t. The song slows down near the end and plays a pretty cool riff that"s good to headbang to. After this song, we come upon Introduction and Ancient Queen. The production starts to get worse from this point on, and that"s really saying something. It totally sucks during these songs, and it"s actually worse than a Darkthrone album. The songs are still really awesome though, and Ancient Queen is one of my personal favorite Emperor songs. The riffs are a lot heavier than the past tracks, but that"s a good thing. This is certainly a headbanging song that most Emperor fans should love. If you want to hear Ancient Queen with better production value then listen to it on the As the Shadows Rise EP.
A few clicks of drum sticks and a scream lead you into the next song, My Empires Doom. The production is just as bad as the last two tracks. The guitars play some more cool riffs and there are some cool drum fills and time changes as well. The song slows down at around two minutes in and sounds sort of like a breakdown. Don"t worry, it"s not like a metalcore breakdown, but it"s certainly badass. The riff during this part is probably my favorite off of this album. Another well written song, but some listeners might be getting bored with this album because it"s rather repetitive. I don"t mind it because I love the sound that this band makes.
Forgotten Centuries has some evil screams kick you into the song, but nothing too cool happens with this song. If the rest of the album didn"t sound like this song it would be better, but you"ve already heard everything that this song does. Thankfully it"s one of Emperor"s shorter songs. It"s time for another song off of the self titled EP, Night of the Graveless Souls. It"s really hard to understand much of the song during the verse because of the production quality, and the screams sound really weird during certain parts. The redone version of this was much better. This is also another pretty short song.
We"ve now reached the tenth song on this black metal excursion, Moon over Kara-Shehr. This song is exceptionally heavy, and I really mean it. This song is quite brutal, even when being compared to the past songs. The vocals are pretty much impossible to understand because of this weird echo sound on his voice, which may bother some listeners. The riffs in this song are pretty technical in some parts which show the band"s great musicianship. Witches Sabbath is next, which you can also hear on the As the Shadows Rise EP. There are more insane screams and brutal riffs found here. This is also a pretty long Emperor song. There are some slow breaks with haunting chanting sounds and afterwards there are some of the most intense screams I"ve ever heard in a black metal band. This song certainly captivated me, and I hope that the next and final song will end the album on a good note.
The last track on the album, Lord of the Storms, certainly does what I hoped it would. This could quite possibly be my favorite Emperor song because it has some cool drum beats, great vocals and more great guitar riffing. The only problem with this version is that it"s shorter than the As the Shadows Rise version. The album certainly ends with a bang and makes you wish for more. Now that all of the tracks have been talked about, let"s wrap this review up with a pros and cons list.
--Guitar riffs and drum beats are top notch
--Vocals are brutal and really powerful
--Synths add a scary atmosphere to the songs
--Might be too heavy for some listeners
--Production quality might not appeal to some listeners
--A little repetitive at times
I personally loved this album. It"s got loads of great parts that any metal fan could pick up and bang their heads to. If you"re a fan of the band or wanting to check out some good black metal, you should certainly give this album a spin. It"s certainly worth it.
Final Rating: 4.5/5