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July 17, 2024

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IX Equilibrium (Century Media)

By: Jeb Branin

Without a doubt EMPEROR is the premier band in black metal. They are immeasurably more advanced in their song writing than any of their peers. They have better atmosphere, a more wicked sound, and tighter execution than anyone else in the genre. They are also not afraid to take chances with their music and be adventurous with their sound. A move that constantly threatens to alienate their base of hardcore supporters but somehow never does. An exceptionally interesting choice on this disc is the on and off again use of cleaner sung vocals. A decision that adds some variety to the songs but could prove disastrous if they attempt to increase its use in the future. Frankly it usually detracts more than it adds. It also seems that they are finally getting their atrocious, and nearly inexcusable history safely tucked away behind them. All in all it is obvious that "IX Equilibrium" is not the masterpiece that "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk" was but is still a solid album for a genre pioneer. Fans of MERCYFUL FATE may want to take note since there are some distinct moments on this album where EMPEROR borrow elements of the patented MF sound.
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