Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Starkweather, Daylight Dies
Label: Candlelight Records
In the world of Black Metal music, Emperor was one of the first bands to do it and show some level of intelligence and impact. Given their start in 1991, the number of bands that performed this style who made any difference was not all that prevalent. Emperor would stand out both musically and in the way that the band carried themselves onstage. Yes, you had Mayhem, who was also among the first, but Emperor like their states – name brought a sense of majesty and dramatics to the form and proved to be more inspiring to other bands that would follow in their footsteps. The band was active until 2001 when they disbanded to pursue other interests until 2005 when they planned some reunion shows and appeared at a couple of notable festivals in Europe. The buzz in the Metal world at finding this news to true was resounding. Since their breakup Ihsahn had worked on solo material while Samoth and Trym formed and performed in Zyklon.
Starkweather opened the show and were pretty good but the venue was still filling up and the crowd was still getting prepared for the Emperor appearance. There was some good stuff being laid down by Starkweather and I aim to pick up a release of theirs soon, watch for a review on the site sometime soon. Daylight Dies would be the second in the supporting acts and I totally was blown away by them. They are a mixture of Black Metal and Gothic Metal in my opinion and their music was very well composed and brought to the ever ravenous audience very well. This band will be opening up for Katatonia and Moonspell in the very near future when those bands do their touring.
Between breaks in the band sets the chants of Emperor grew and grew, and the club was ever filling to the absolute maximum capacity. This would be the most crowded I would ever find B.B. King’s and for those who have attended shows at the venue before they would find it interesting to know that even some of the tables in the booths were removed so more people could be accommodated. The photo pit would even be tighter than usual to allow more audience floor room. I remember speaking to a young lady in the front who said that I was lucky to be in there. I had to laugh at the aspect of me being between the stage and almost 1200 crazed Black Metal fans being considered luck – but I guess it was cool despite the slight dread I had at the soon to be flying bodies. We had actually been warned in advance by Security to be on guard and prepared to move since the crowd the night before was so insane. Knowing tonight was completely sold out and being a Friday with no work the next day, everyone was pumped and ready to let loose. Suddenly smoke hit the stage (again) and Emperor was finally here. They had played the night before and the downside to the bands appearance was quickly apparent as guitarist Samoth would not be present. He ended up having trouble obtaining his Visa and as a result the quintet was knocked down a member and would cause Ihsahn some extra work. Before the band went on I got to talk to some other audience members of the Emperor Horde and a couple of them thought that the sound lacked certain fullness because of the absence of Samoth. This could have been their disappointment talking for I did not notice any missing sound at all. While it would have been nice to have him present, at least the band still played and did not cancel or reschedule any shows on their fans. This could have easily been the case with such an unexpected monkey wrench in the wheel. Given Ihsahn is the front person anyway, he knew how to command the audience and while he is a legend in this genre it was very apparent at how surprised he was by the crowds reaction to their return (they had not been here for about 7 years I was told). Joining Ihsahn and Trym was a couple of touring players, Tyr on bass (who has also performed with Borknagar) and Charmand Grimloch would be on keyboards.
The entire Emperor set was a lesson in Metal brutality from start to finish as the band delivered their classic material from such revered Metal albums like “Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk” and “In The Nightside Eclipse”. Ihsahn also made mention that they would also do music that was never before performed live from “Prometheus”. Through the whole performance the bodies were flying everywhere and keeping the staff of the venue very busy. I don’t think I have ever seen the crowd this wild in all the times I have attended shows at the place, and I would know since I am there so often.
I would have liked to get better photos for the readership, but the mass amount of smoke machine use made it very difficult this evening. I have to also admit that while smoke looks great onstage it is most certainly not fun from a five foot distance (cough, cough). Let us all raise the horns in “HAILS!” to the return of the Mighty Emperor, long may they reign the world of Black Metal.
1. Into The Infinity Of Thoughts
2. The Burning Shadows Of Silence
3. Cosmic Keys To My Creations & Times
4. Thus Spoke The Nightspirit
5. An Elegy Of Icaros
6. Curse You All Men
7. With Strength I Burn
8. Towards The Pantheon
9. The Majesty Of The Nightsky
10. The Loss And Curse Of Reverence
11. In The Wordless Chamber
12. Inno A Satana
13. The Wanderer
14. Opus A Satana I – outro
15. I Am The Black Wizard – encore
16. Ye Entranceperium – encore
17. Opus A Satana II – outro
Official Web site: www.emperorhorde.com