Emperor - "In the Nightside Eclipse" (Candlelight, CD, 1994)
After the release of the now legendary demos "Emperor" and "Wrath of the Tyrant" here is the debut Emperor album. This album was a complete turn around in Blackmetal, with it started the so-called 2nd wave of Blackmetal. But let's talk about the album, it is much better than you were expecting by listening to the demos, about that I'm sure. This album associates the typical raw sound of that time with the melody that appeared later (probably influenced by them). The use of the keyboards, not very common then, makes some kind of spooky atmospheres throughout the album, but this keyboards are used in a very good way, I mean, they do not muffle the guitars, as we can see on most of the bands nowadays, and what a shame it would be if that happened, because the guitars have an excellent role, playing very complex, but nonetheless melodic riffs. About the vocalization, Ihsahn is constantly screaming, but sometimes you can hear a clean voice, that really fits the music. But what extols the most in this album is the transcending feeling of the executers, and that is what brings such quality to this release. 
About the lyrical part, we can see that there are lots of good ideas, but the translation to English didn't work so well as they intended, because one can see very grammar errors (nothing that doesn't allow you understand the lyrics, though) .
This astonishing debut album brought Emperor to the front of the Blackmetal scene, a place that they never lost until now!

Tracklist:
1 - Into The Infinity Of Thoughts
2 - The Burning Shadows Of Silence
3 - Cosmic Keys To My Creations & Times
4 - Beyond The Great Vast Forest
5 - Towards The Pantheon
6 - The Majesty Of The Nightsky
7 - I Am The Black Wizards
8 - Inno A Satana
9 - A Fine Day To Die (Bathory cover/Bonus Track)
10 - Gypsy (King Diamond cover/Bonus Track)

Note: This two bonus tracks only appeared on the re-release of this album, in 1998

19/20

Shemahmforash

Emperor - "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk" (Candlelight, CD, 1997)
Three years after the release of the mythical "In the Nighside Eclipse", considered by many the best Blackmetal album ever, Emperor are back again, this time with a new formation, but the true mentors behind the band - Ihsahn and Samoth - remain. Many expectations were in the air, could Emperor deal with the pressure of creating a successor for "In the Nighside Eclipse"? By listening to this record you will understand that this is more than a successor, for me this one even overcomes "In the Nighside Eclipse". The band shows much more experience now and that experience combined with the creativity in the composition of the songs, makes this a superb album. It all starts with an epic introduction named "Al Svartr (The Oath)", which prepares you for entering in your inner empire with "Ye Entrancemperium" (the opening guitar riff of this song was originally written by Euronymous). I think it's not worth to name here some songs, because they are all just great! Emperor with this record managed, even better, to join both raw and epic atmospheres, being the sound much more perceptible now. About the instrumentalization, it's in the vein of the previous one, but with rhythms and riffs even more complex (a note for the new drummer - Trym - who is very good, being among the best in the scene). Ihsahn besides playing guitar, bass and synth in this record, wrote all the lyrics, which are, in one word, brilliant! Emperor, with this album, showed that they are, without doubt, the best Blackmetal second wave Blackmetal band.

Traclist:
1 - Al Svartr (The Oath)
2 - Ye Entracemperium
3 - Thus Spake the Nightspirit
4 - Ensorcelled by Chaos
5 - The Loss and Curse of Reverence
6 - The Acclamation of Bonds
7 - With Strength I Burn
8 - The Wanderer
9 - In Longing Spirit (Bonus Track)
10 - Opus a Satana (Bonus Track)
11 - The Loss and Curse of Reverence (live) (Bonus Track)

Note: This three bonus tracks only appeared in the re-release of this album, in 1998

19,5/20

Shemahmforash

Emperor - "IX Equilibrium" (Candlelight, CD, 1999)
The band considered by most as the great leaders of the Blackmetal movement (an opinion with which I completely agree) have returned with their third album, IX Equilibrium.
Much was expected, after the fabulous releases "In the Nightside Eclipse" and "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk". The waiting was worth the time.
This is a geniously conceived album, it is a fact. Emperor simply do not let themselves slow down, and the result is their most brutal album up-to-date.
A great hail goes to the production. It is finally possible to decently hear Ihsahn's vocals, and what a fuck if it wouldn't be - from raw to clean, the chanting is completely fabulous, Ihsahn manages once again to create both aggressive and epic vocals in a genius way. 
Musically, it is the stuff Emperor have habituated us to - insane drums, strange arrangements, technical guitar works, majestic keyboards...this time the band incorporated some death metal influences, mostly through the guitars, giving the album a more direct sound. However, there are still a lot of epic moments in every track, giving the album a great variety (this is both a good and bad thing, though, because sometimes you get the feeling that this album is simply too varied). A final hail goes to the lyrics, extremely well-written, more focused on aspects of life than on the previous releases.

Tracklist:
1 - Curse You All Men!
2 - Decrystallizing Reason
3 - An Elegy Of Icaros
4 - The Source Of Icon E
5 - Sworn
6 - Nonus Aequilibrium
7 - The Warriors Of Modern Death
8 - Of Blindness & Subsequent Seers
9 - Reason Nonus (Bonus Track)

18/20

Zoid

Myrkskog - "Deathmachine" (Candlelight, CD, 1999)
"Deathmachine" appeared one year after release of their second demo "Apocalyptic Psychotica - The Murder Tape", which draw attentions to some of the bigger European labels, among that labels was Candlelight Records, the one with they signed up. The demo was good, and a little bit different of what was being done in the black/death metal scene, but by listening to the demo I never guessed that they would release, one year after, such a good, original and powerful album!
This album is a perfect combination of Deathmetal  and Blackmetal, direct and very fast, as it should be. About the production, Candlelight offered them excellent conditions, and they used that to get an excellent sound to the album.
About the lyrical concept, it's about the destruction of humanity by machines in a  futuristic view.
The instrumentalization is very good, with the guitars and the drums sounding wonderfully, making an excellent combination, about the vocal work, it's not only the typical Blackmetal scratchy voice, sometimes it appears a guttural voice, what in my opinion is very well achieved, creating a different dimension in the music. By the work of the guitars and by the "insane" work of the drums you can see that this album is much more technical than the typical Blackmetal albums, this technique allied with the originality and brilliancy of the combination between Blackmetal and Deathmetal makes this a great album, a must for all those who are looking for something different.
For me they where the revelation in the more extreme sound in 1999 so I'm waiting impatiently for their next album, that is being recorded now in the US with Eric Rutan from Morbid Angel and is scheduled to be released in the end of this year or in the beginning of 2002.

P.S. I almost forgot, the last song, the remix, was unnecessary.

Tracklist:
1 - Discipline Misanthropy
2 - The Hate Syndicate
3 - A Poignant Scenario of Horror
4 - Sinthetic Lifeworm
5 - Syndrome 9
6 - Morphinemangled Torture
7 - Deathfare to the Devil
8 - Deathmachine
9 - Pilar Deconstruction

18/20

Shemahmforash

Myrkskog - "Superior Massacre" (Candlelight, CD, 2002)
Leaders of the misantropic onslaught, Candlelight´s Myrkskog are back with a second threat pointing towards devastation…
With the aid of Erik Rutan´s productions, “Superior Massacre” is better improved than the ultimate “Death Machine”. It´s perceptible the band´s maturity in terms of the lyrics and consistency of the music: this album reveals a solid structure and gathers a conceptual mass genocide line of thinking with strong and emphatisized rythms.
Brutally conceived in order to succeed the firstborn “Death Machine”, “Superior Massacre” is improved to be powerful, brief and anti common melody. Less synthetic and more extreme, Mysrkskog have defined a new level in Blacked Death Metal modernism. The synths here appear by the hand of Epikktrician on the Intro and Outro of the album: the mechanical sound and atmospheric samples were replaced by efficient raw guitars, hellish pulse, frozen riffs in a ragefull fury and ultra- swift rhythms.
Although the album is well aligned, it has some tracks that are just hollow replicants of the others- “Indisposable Deaths”, “Bleeding Wrists” ie, which reforces the summarity and originality of the band.
Worthy enough to become part of any extreme sound collection as a reference in Black/Death Metal avant-garde style!

Tracklist:
1 - Intro
2 - Domain of the Superior
3 - Detain the Skin
4 - Trapped in Torment
5 - Indisposable Deaths
6 - Over the Gore
7 - Blood Ejaculation
8 - Utter Human Murder
9 - Bleeding Wrists
10 - Outro

18.5/20

LubnaMagnis

Thou Shalt Suffer - "Somnium" (Candlelight, CD, 20000)
For those that don't know, thou shalt suffer started in the early 90's, and although Ihsahn was the leader, there were more guys accompanying him. The band practiced extreme metal, and even got to release an album, "into the woods of Belial". 
However, there was an evolution in both line-up and sound direction - Ihsahn became the only member, and referred that the new album would be a synth-only one. Indeed.
High expectations were being created about this album, many due to the "opus a satanna" track, featured in "anthems..." and the Reverence Ep. Forget it, you're not going to get that formal, pompous, classic style featured in that track.
The songs featured in "Somnium" are different. First of all, Ihsahn aimed at creating a connecting line between the songs, and tried to make this album some kind of a soundtrack for your sleep. Thus, expect very ethereal, strange, abstract melodies, all created with synths (many effects are featured, and sometimes you may think that you're hearing other instruments, but no). The songs are all named in Latin, with long names, so I'll just be referring to the songs by the number (although THE SONGS HAVE NAMES, something that many persons are always contradicting).
There is indeed some connection between the songs, but there should be more, for sometimes you just part from one thing to something not so similar. One of the things that probably contributed to this was the long writing process (from 1991 to 1999/2000), that contributed to the creation of sounds that contained very different feelings, thus not creating that so desirable guiding line throughout the album (Ihsahn even admitted that he released the record because he thought that if he wouldn't do it now, he would never do it).
There is some kind of a trocist feeling around sometimes, very weird, that really adds a certain psychadelic atmosphere to the songs. Rarely, you can hear some kind of a whisper, sometimes you even hear chants by Ihsahn's wife, Ihriel, although not very nice in quality (not the quality of the vocal lines, but the quality of the singer).
The tracks are very abstract, as I've said before, and feature different influences. On some there is a more classic feeling, particularly on the last track, on some a more darkwave/ambient influence, and on most a mix of the both.
The album has its flaws, like every album, but is nonetheless a very good work, made by a great genius of extreme metal, Ihsahn, from Emperor. And for those looking for more tripping, abstract stuff, believe me, you'll like this (I do).

Tracklist:
Somnium I
Somnium II
Somnium III
Somnium IV
Somnium V
Somnium VI
Somnium VII
Somnium VIII
Somnium IX
Somnium X

16/20

Zoid

Zyklon - "World ov Worms" (Candlelight, CD, 2001)
This is the debut album of a band formed by some very well known musicians of the black/death metal scene: Samoth (the mentor of this project) and Trym from Emperor, Daemon from Limbonic Art and Destruchtor from Myrkskog.
About the album, I think it is a perfect example of what Blackmetal and Deathmetal are developing to: an hybrid form between both, called by some ones Extreme metal.
In Zyklon's sound you can find influences of Emperor's majestic Blackmetal and Myrkskog Deathmetal joined together with some electronic influences and some samples from movies. So their sound is cold and epic like Emperor, direct and very fast like Myrkskog with some kind of Industrial sounds.
About the performance of the members, Trym showed once again that is a very skillful drummer and that his work with Samoth really works well, about Destruchtor his mark is very evidence in the guitar's sound and style - a very direct and fast one, and the presence of Daemon makes the vocal lines the traditional raw Blackmetal with some high pitched screams.
The lyrics (all written by Faust who is still in prison) are about chaos and destruction in a satirized critic to humanity, as you can see, for example, in the title of this album - "World ov Worms".
Many people may say that this extreme metal stuff is a new trend, but I think it's a step forward for Blackmetal and Deathmetal; it's the metal sound for the new millennium!

Tracklist:
1 - Hammer Revelation
2 - Deduced To Overkill
3 - Chaos Deathcult
4 - Storm Detonation
5 - Zycloned
6 - Terrordrome
7 - Worm World
8 - Transcendental War - Battle Between Gods

17,5/20

Shemahmforash


You can find the official candlelight records site at: www.candlelightrecords.co.uk

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