I suppose by now Emperor needs no introduction (although I'm giving them one anyway). This band has been one of the most influential bands of their genre since their debut in the early '90s with In the Nightside Eclipse which has since been regarded as one of the greatest black metal albums ever, along with Anthms to the Welkin At Dusk (secon album some years later). Equilibrium was their second-to-last release in '99 before disbanding in 2001. As you can tell I'm not in a bio mood, so if you're looking for something more complete you can check out one of the other Emperor reviews.
Curse You All Men! - 4.5/5
A pretty good glimpse at the band. It's got nice smooth rhythms on top of the double bass and blast beats. There are solos present which really made the song appeal to me. The vocals have the traditional strained black metal shriek which really emphasizes the heaviness of the main riffs. The song as a whole has sort of an evil feel while fast yet slightly repetitive. A good way to catch the ear of a Black Metal fan.
Decrystalizing Reason - 3/5
DR is much slower. The guitar noise gives the opposite of the usual evil feel. The keyboards and synth sounds are a highlight which emphasize the atmosphere. It's nothing too special but is a pretty decent song that shouldn't be overlooked.
An Elegy of Icaros - 4.5/5
I think I've heard the intro in a video game somewhere...it's loaded with semi-cheesey synth sounds. But after the song breaks out it was worth the wait. With riffs reminiscent of Into the Infinity of Thought mixed with various elements of Children of Bodom this song is chaotic metal with all kinds of elements present. Varying speed, solos, heaviness, soft sounds, everything. And at 6:39 you'll have plenty of time to enjoy an epic such as this.
The Source of Icon E - 4/5
A pretty well-rounded track. It's got a nice pace and is pretty heavy considering. The vocals are pretty different and exciting here with more heavy shouting and some growling than the high pitch shriek. At one point the singing gets so high I could've mistaken it for an old British rock track from the 80's. Either that or a castration operation gone wrong. For the most part it's pretty consistent but reletively short. Nice song.
Sworn - 4/5
Emphasizes speed more than anything. It's pretty **** heavy and seems really angst-riden. Really good song with basically no real flaws - I look for the heaviness with powerful vocals mainly and they delivered. For some reason I'm having trouble describing this song, but you should never feel to good for Sworn.
Nonus Aequilibrium - 5/5
Alright, I take it back. Sworn pales in comparison to Nonus Aequilibrium. From speed to heaviness to technicality, this song pwns. Fast as hell main riffs with great synth backing produce a great song. **** good guitar work with perfectly matching vocals make this a definite highlight and for 5:48 you'll love every second. For some reason the drumming stood out as well.
The Warriors of Modern Death - 4.5/5
At first I thought I was listening to For Whom the Bell Tolls. But no, this song has has a slower powerful sound. A nice crazy guitar solo right in the beginning got my spirits lifted pretty high from the start. And then it delivers. It turns out to be another slower song, but these Norwegian bastards make it work. Another insane guitar solo makes this stimulating to the technical musician, but the music os by no means lacking.
Of Blindness and Subsequent Seers - 4/5
Alright, so the album ends on yet another slow song. This one's got great screaming, but other than that it doesnt seem to stand out as much as the Warriors of Modern Death. But seriously - this song runs 6:47. Did you really think it could be so linear for the whole time? The song breaks into a nice flowing pace part way in and regains that evil feel. It's pretty instrumental and again reminds me of old Metallica at some points. It's pretty solid and a good way to end.
You can probably tell I wasn't in the most talkative mood today. I was eager to write another review since it's been a few days, so if I look back and wonder what the hell I was doing then I'll edit.
This is a well written album. It's most definitely not the band's most groundbreaking or record setting album ever, but not a let down by many lengths. Of course, not many bands could consistently put out albums like Anthems or Nightside. That would get exhausting. But I think by now Emperor has earned respect from all over thew world, and rightly so. While this is not their best, it is essential for any black metal or Emperor fan's collection.
Curse You All Men!
An Elegy of Icaros
The Warriors of Modern Death