I’m late on this, and I wish I’d gotten to this early. Holy fuck it’s been so long since I’ve heard a modern band try to do some Emperor worship. This album parties like it’s 1995 and for me, any time you your album sounds like the best of the classic era, it gets good marks form me. The synths are just perfect, like this peripheral coating of blackness throughout all the music that tries to drown out any hope to all who enter. Symphonic black metal tends to be a genre engorged with cheesiness, but when done well it can have a coating of dead pan seriousness and earnestness that takes the obviously fake strings and turns them into instruments of destruction.
What Emperor did so well was create a swirling vortex of blackness and doom to where the only thing audible was just this blast of noise that vaguely reminded you of like a final boss in a video game, or the final confrontation with the villain of a fantasy movie. In this story of course, the bad guy wins. I get the exact same feeling here, with maybe a bit more emphasis on guitars than synth strings.
Easily one of my favorite black metal albums this year, can’t believe waited so long to hear it.