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Emperor - Glasgow, Scotland, 22nd March 2024

Event: Emperor: Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk Scotland and Ireland 2024
Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 25.03.2024


Emperor - Glasgow, Scotland, 22nd March 2024 by Baz Anderson (20)

The story of Emperor is of a band who formed and gained first acclaim during the flash fire of the most controversial era of extreme metal, and through the relatively short span of seven years released four genre-defining albums that step by step took the band musically further from their beginnings. Emperor were not afraid to evolve, even if that ultimately lead to the eventual disbanding of the warriors of modern death - a decision that for better or worse has remained honoured regarding musical output, but not for sporadic live appearances.

We are just over a month past the 30th anniversary of the release of the groundbreaking "In The Nightside Eclipse" and a couple of years past the 25 year milestone of the pioneering "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk" album- for which this night in Glasgow is billed as a celebration of.

Preceding support for the main event comes in the form of just one band; Winterfylleth, who would be deserving headliners on most other line-ups after their dedication to Anglo-Saxon-themed, natural world-tinted black metal over what will soon be two decades. The quintet are afforded a good amount of set time to present seven songs, including two new songs making their live debut, to an eager audience. "A Valley Thick With Oaks" gets the steady, atmosphere-thick set into full swing, and both new songs at the heart of the set sounded very promising for the forthcoming album. As frontman Chris alludes however, we are gathered for a celebration of one of the greatest black metal albums ever released, and in what feels like no time the giant icon "E" is to be beheld in front of us.

Setlist: Absolved in Fire / A Valley Thick With Oaks / The Reckoning Dawn / To The Edge / Dishonour Enthroned / Whisper of the Elements / Green Cathedral

The eerie introduction of "Into The Infinity Of Thoughts" introduces the legendary band to us, and brings light to the fact that this isn't going to be a simple front to back recital of the 1997 masterpiece, more like a celebration of the band's work as a whole, albeit with a huge bias towards those first two albums. "In The Wordless Chamber" and "Curse You All Men!" later on, however, never feel out of place in a set of songs that predominantly have that earlier Emperor sound.

The near-sell-out Barrowland Ballroom is a fantastic venue and rivals anywhere for quality of stage and sound. Ihsahn sounded crisp, and every intricate detail from each corner of the band was perfectly levelled and audible. For a band who seldom play together live, Ihsahn, Samoth, Trym and Secthdamon do not miss a step. The veterans are joined by Shining's talented Jørgen Munkeby on keys and backing vocals, who also plays his part well albeit with an aesthetically contrasting bounce and constant grin - but who can blame him really.

The backbone of the set does comprise of the bulk of "Anthems...", including blistering versions of the not-as-frequently-heard "Ensorcelled By Khaos" and "The Acclamation Of Bonds". This is followed by the closing three songs from the "…Nightside Eclipse" album, with mandatory "I Am The Black Wizards" and sing-along "Inno A Satana" closing the main portion of the set.

A quick turnaround later and the Norwegians are back on stage for a two-song encore. It has to be said all throughout the set, the Barrowland audience had been chanting the band's name between each song, to which Ihsahn seemed almost flattered and surprised. It has to be the unrelenting "Ye Entrancemperium" to close however, for a set that was executed - and sounded to perfection. By the looks of the audience, this was no ordinary show. Emperor are a special band to a lot of people, who have after all these years maintained their degree of mystique by honouring that decision over twenty years ago to part ways.

The story of this reviewer and Emperor is one of amusing symmetry. At the age of eighteen and having not long left home he set off on pilgrimage to see what was billed at the time as "Emperor's last ever show" at the old London Astoria in the Autumn of 2006. A further eighteen years on and he sits here writing this today, with the same, if not greater appreciation for the band that had such an impact on him - and the people gathered at this show - eighteen-plus years ago.

Setlist: Into the Infinity of Thoughts / In the Wordless Chamber / Thus Spake the Nightspirit / Ensorcelled by Khaos / The Loss and Curse of Reverence / The Acclamation of Bonds / With Strength I Burn / Curse You All Men! / The Majesty of the Nightsky / I Am the Black Wizards / Inno a Satana / The Burning Shadows of Silence / Ye Entrancemperium

Written on 25.03.2024 by Member of Staff since 2006


Comments: 2   Visited by: 49 users
31.03.2024 - 00:57

Nice one, Baz, and cool pics, too! You got me hyped for their upcoming concert in Athens. Winterfylleth is a great choice for support band. We're going to have Lucifer's Child as support this coming Saturday.
31.03.2024 - 22:29
Baz Anderson

Written by nikarg on 31.03.2024 at 00:57

Nice one, Baz, and cool pics, too! You got me hyped for their upcoming concert in Athens. Winterfylleth is a great choice for support band. We're going to have Lucifer's Child as support this coming Saturday.

Thanks!! They'll be amazing! Definitely a show to be excited for!

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