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EMPEROR A Night of Emperial Wrath 2021 Livestream

By Wendy Jasper, Black Metal Aficionado
Thursday, July 1, 2021 @ 1:12 PM


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EMPEROR are easily the purveyors and originators of symphonic black metal. The band formed thirty years ago in Norway and quickly became a staple of the underground scene. Ihsahn, Samoth, Faust and Mortiis have overcome much in the years following the band’s inception and I would say as musicians they have done rather well. They became one of the most successful bands of the genre and have had long running achievement in their art. It was pure magic to see them perform this glorious show on May 23, 2021 at Notodden Teater in Notodden, Norway.

I have had the pleasure of seeing EMPEROR live many times and no matter how often I saw them, they always impressed me. This was no different. The past year has had challenges and thrown most of the civilized world into chaos because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and live music has suffered heavy losses because of the inability to generate work for bands, sound technicians and others who create the live concert atmosphere. However, the band, in conjunction with Munin.live, produced a show just as fantastical and heretical as any performed in a concert venue. It was a real treat for those hungering for a concert.

Ihsahn and Mortiis have impressive solo careers and large fan followings that, interestingly enough, are not relegated to just die hard black metallers; Ihsahn and Mortiis are now highly progressive and dark synth artists, respectively. Samoth was highly successful with his side project, Zyklon and has participated in artist collaborations with contemporaries of the black metal scene.

Faust has returned to the music world and I will be honest and say that the appeal of this show was the fact that he and Mortiis would be included. While the most current lineup of the band has Trym on drums, Secthdamon on bass and live keyboardist Jorgen Munkeby, it was fantastic to see Faust behind the kit. There has been a trace of debate regarding Faust performing with his various projects, but anyone that still has issues with his past should get over it and enjoy the show. He has done his time. End of discussion.

The show opened with "In The Wordless Chamber" and after a brief introduction from the band transitioned into "Thus Spake The Nightspirit". I knew from previews by the band that they would focus heavily on material from In The Nightside Eclipse and Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, but they also paid homage to their entire catalog, with tracks spanning from Wrath of the Tyrant to their fourth studio album, Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise. "The Loss And Curse Of Reverence", "The Acclamation Of Bonds" and “With Strength I Burn” quickly followed and the show moved at a good pace.

The level of expertise and skill by the members of this band is what has set them apart from the masses. They did what they did first, and many trying to emulate their sound followed. They certainly serve as influencers for those who categorize themselves as atmospheric or melodic black metal. Just remember that EMPEROR helped put Norwegian Black Metal on the map and helped spread the blasphemy worldwide. The stage went silent for a moment and then it was time for the blast beat from the past! After an intermission featuring a sampling of “Ave Satani” from The Omen, complete with a lit torch and an atmospheric Norwegian forest in the background, Mortiis and Faust took to the stage and launched into a cover of BATHORY’s "Call From The Grave".

Honestly, it was somewhat reverent and wholly appropriate that Faust and Mortiis reclaimed their former positions for this event. It was something that black metal purists would consider as the band coming full circle. It was joyous…and even better was the segway from the cover to a rendition of "Wrath Of The Tyrant". The current lineup returned to the stage to perform "The Majesty Of The Nightsky" and then Faust came back to take over the skins on "I Am The Black Wizards" and "Inno A Satana", two of the band’s seminal tunes. Each song was flawlessly performed as if the band had never changed members, taken a hiatus or otherwise. It was perfect and Ihsahn has proven that he is a master songwriter and performer, Samoth is pure metal and Secthdamon is energy personified.

The show closed with "Ye Entrancemperium” and after an hour and a quarter of legendary black metal, the band, including Faust and Mortiis, took a final bow…it was surreal. I hope it happens again.

If you missed the original live stream of the show, it is available for view on various streaming video services like YouTube. I won’t lie, I have enjoyed being able to watch it again after the live stream expired. I will probably watch it a lot…and hope for a live album to be generated from the show. Hails and well met, O Mighty EMPEROR.


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