The wait was long – too long. Like a storm that had been brewing in the bellies of Australian black metal enthusiasts for over twenty years – Emperor, like a swarm, engulfed the Metro Theatre last night on the initial joust of their FIRST Australian tour… We marvelled at the calibre that is Emperor, swooned at the savagery that is Emperor and sat there basically fuck eyed at the mere splendour that is Emperor!
You couldn’t wedge a drumstick between the crowds. The house was packed, pushing, thrusting and charging to get a glimpse of these Norwegian titans. All with fists in the air, chanting lyrics from Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, the bands 1997 masterpiece which transcended symphonic black metal to a new found podium and elegantly executed all of Emperor’s promise and ambition. Some punters just chanted incoherent dribbles of excitement and absolutely lost their minds when the notes of Opus a Satana and Ensorcelled by Khaos were strummed. Truth is, we were all pretty ensorcelled… Ihsahn was magnetic. Yielding so much vigour and receiving copious amounts of adulation from the fans, Ihsahn isa true gem in the metal realm and our lives are all the better for his presence in it.
From what I witnessed in the late hours of last night, I feel Emperor are in their element – here, now. Their musicianship is unparalleled. Unrivalled. So tightly refined. This is twenty years of polishing; sweet nurturing, like a mahogany heirloom, just coated over the years to seal all the cracks and imperfections and preserve the rawness inside. Making it stronger over the years and eventually it is built to outlast all the inferior that try to eclipse it. Yet although I feel they are in their prime – they are also eternally preserved.
I’ve seen Emperor live twice before – though last night I felt I was really seeing them for the first time. The atmosphere was palpable, the energy was discernible and the capacity and expertise was at the threshold – the audience were transported with imagery of vast Norwegian forest, crows, snowy mountain peaks. It was stunning! This is what Emperor is all about. Emperor are incorruptibly aesthetic and absolutely immortal. It was stratospherical and something we may never see again on our shores.