Emperor/IX Equilibrium

IX EquilibriumIX Equilibrium is the third studio album by the symphonic black metal band Emperor. The band had stated that they were to “return to their roots”, and the music presented showcases some of the band’s darkest and most vicious material, as well as their cleanest production at the time. Still, it is quite different from earlier releases, featuring a mix of clean and black metal vocals, soothing symphonic interludes and unrelentingly crushing guitar work. [Wikipedia]

Curse You All Men—-With little or no introduction, the onslaught begins almost immediately upon clicking play. The guitars are huge and layered…the vocal a bit pushed to the back is still more present than many of the bands recordings. The song is literally a fest of schizophrenic moods as the guitars squeal at times but almost disappear at others…the most present noise is the unrelenting drums that drive the song. I love the guitar squeals and the vocal growls…this is classic Emperor…they have seldom made a misstep in my mind.

Decrystallizing Reason—-Beginning with huge symphonic sounds, the layers and layers of this song would take hours to deconstruct…the drums kick in at hell raising speed and literally snap your neck. The vocal is full of brutality and force…you catch words here and there and then draw your own conclusions. The result is yet another clear example of why this band has remained so important in the movement…this is remarkable…beautifully brilliant and almost scary at times….the song allows a few seconds of repose before returning to full on Black Metal….This is a masterpiece…I love this shit!!!!!!!!!!!

An Elegy Of Icaros—-Wow…this begins rather softly and with an almost pretty sound…the song opens up a bit and features a clean vocal that makes me think of modern-day Dimmu Borgir. The drums are so understated you wonder if you are listening to the right band….have no fear, the track develops nicely and gives us more of the classic Emperor sound that we thirst for…this is fantastic….showing talent from all sides, this is exquisite!!!

The Source Of Icon E—-With no interludes of fanfare, the band returns to full on Symphonic black Metal with little hesitation. The keyboard lines are really great at times during the track…the vocal is so fast and furious, you wonder at one point if you might very well lose your mind. The layers and layers of sound result in such a darkness, you will have it in your soul for days. This is fantastic…wow…the vocal is astounding as it reaches heights I never knew this band was capable of…at times making me think of very early King Diamond. This is brilliant!!!!

Sworn—-The first thing you notice about this track is the remarkable rhythmic quality of the song…the melody seems built into the leads and the drums…the vocal remains a tirade of almost incomprehensible words, but the intent is clear. This is big, brutal and layered with every classic Emperor sound you could ask for. Fantastic!!!

Nonus Aequilibrium—-This begins with a nice level of atmosphere and mood, but it is smashed within 20 seconds of the beginning. The vocal is so overlayed and textured it is surprising you can catch a word or to. This is huge…the drums are monstrous and sound as if they are smoking Meth…the guitars are delivered with mastery and the breaks in the song show the true and real talent of the band. This is more than I could ask for.

The Warriors Of Modern Death—-Kudos for the song title alone…extra props for the cemetery sounds at the intro…top notch kudos for the huge melodic sounds that follow. The drums and bass are in perfect tandem…the leads actually soar at times and the result leaves you thirtsy…wanting more and more. The vocal is so clear that I am surprised…this is different, yet classic. I could not ask for more….intense.

Of Blindness And Subsequent Seers—-Closing out the release with the classic heavy and layered sound that the band is known for, this is literally mayhem at times….but that is not to be interpreted as bad…I regret that I never had the chance to see this band live..I can only imagine what a spectacle this must have been. there are some nice clean vocals on this track that leave a delicious Death taste in your mouth…it only leaves me wanting more!!!

****1/2 out of 5


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