We chatted recently with music legend Ihsahn over Skype to discuss his upcoming new EP, Pharos, due out on September 11th, via Candlelight Records. Ihsahn contrasted the music from the current EP to his last one, Telemark, the many different sides of his moods and styles, how he chooses cover songs, the evolution of his singing voice, thoughts on performing live, some of his other projects over the years, and next years Emperor full album performance of “In the Nightside Eclipse” at Beyond The Gates Festival in Norway in 2021. Purchase Pharos here and check out our chat! Continue reading
Three of the most legendary names in Black Metal will unite for an unforgettable event at next summer’s Beyond The Gates Festival in Norway! Emperor, Mayhem and Enslaved will perform at Grieghallen MCMXCIV as part of the fest with full-album performances of their classic works; Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse, and Enslaved’s Vikingligr Veldi. All three monumental albums were recorded in the legendary Grieghallen Studios in Bergen. Tickets can be purchased at the link below and the full festival lineup, headlined by a reunited Mercyful Fate is here as well! Continue reading
Truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to the entire Norwegian Black Metal scene, its founding epoch, and its legacy. A lot of text has been written about how terrible certain characters in the scene were. Every band at the time seemed to revel in being befouled by the stain of their actions. Emperor is no different and was a vital part of that scene. Having made amends to whatever level they can mea culpa their mistakes as kids, their names no less ruined than their peers. Musically, however, they have few equals in terms of what they put down. Their full-length debut album In The Nightside Eclipse (Candlelight Records) is still one of the gold-standard Black Metal albums ever made, and worthy of deep analysis on the silver- anniversary of its release. Continue reading
With their last proclamation Carrion Skies (Code666), British band Fen let the Black Metal flood back into their sound, releasing their strongest album to date and ultimately featuring in the Ghost Cult Magazine Top 40 Albums of 2014. In celebration of opening the sluice gates, front man The Watcher revealed the depth of his Black Metal love by unveiling his Top 5 unsung oft overlooked underground treasures
Setherial – Nord (Napalm Records – 1996)
Cold. That’s the one overriding word to sum up this furious blast of mid-nineties Swedish black metal – cold. Freezing, even. Taking its cues fairly heavily from Emperor’s seminal In the Nightside Eclipse (Candlelight) album, Nord strips backs the keyboards whilst simultaneously cranking up the intensity levels considerably. Riff after riff of freezing melody pours forth across thundering percussion, lengthy songs (the opener alone is nearly 12 minutes long) buoyed by relentless twists and turns. An exhilarating, windswept listen and serious contender for black metal’s finest hour.
Diabolical Masquerade – Nightwork (Avantgarde Music – 1998)
Anders Nystrom may be much better known for his “day job” in Katatonia but back in the mid-90s, as the mysterious Blakkheim he released four records of haunting, horror-themed black metal under the banner of Diabolical Masquerade. The pick is undoubtedly the third full-length Nightwork, a peak-laden brace of songs replete with infections fretwork, searing melody and an underlying sense of humour. This isn’t at all to detract from the ‘abandoned mansion’ atmospherics of the album and Nightwork simply oozes a convincing crepuscular ambience in amongst the riffage.
Armagedda – Ond Spiritism (Agonia – 2004)
From pure early Darkthrone worship on their debut to ‘fist-in-the face’ muscular black metal on ‘Only True Believers’ to occult-themed dungeonesque roamings, Sweden’s Armagedda explored a gamut of expressions within their short, three-album career. Swansong ‘Ond Spiritism’ is the peak – a lengthy, sprawling opus with an undeniable cloak of darkness wafting across the whole thing. Graav’s guttural croak spits venom in his native Swedish whilst the guitars and bass swirl like a thick fog. Absorbing and unsettling work from the young Swedes.
Tenebrae in Perpetuum – Antico Misticismo (Debemur Morti – 2006)
Yet another band who are no longer with us, Tenebrae in Perpetuum specialised in a particularly brittle, shrill form of frozen melodic black metal – made particularly surprising by the fact that they were actually Italian! Mainman Atratus’ guitar sound is one of the most distinctive you’ll hear – a treble-heavy, reverb soaked saw that nonetheless manages to convey the band’s excellently-developed sense of melody and song structure. All three of their full-length releases are worth tracking down so consistent is their quality but Antico Misticismo probably edges it thanks to a couple of genuinely spine-tingling moments.
Obsidian Tongue – A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time (Hypnotic Dirge – 2013)
The most recent release on this list and hopefully a band who won’t remain ‘hidden’ for too much longer, this US-based duo ply their trade with a particularly punishing brand of “Post” black metal. Building on the template laid down by the so-called ‘Cascadian’ sound (Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room et al), Brendan Hayter and Greg Murphy lay down a serious challenge on their sophomore effort here. Winding passaged of considered guitar, inventive percussion and a darker atmosphere than many of their peers render them a real one to watch. That they can pull it off live is just the icing on the cake.
The Watcher was speaking to STEVE TOVEY