I love music. Some people may not call everything I listen to music, but that's okay. One of the things that was planned for this blog was to interject some album reviews now and again. However, being cheap and broke, I rely heavily on free (legal) sources of music, which are not always the most current releases, or often are samplers, which give you numerous bands to discover but are rather difficult to write a review on. One short EP came across my exploration a short while back, and after sitting down to listen to the whole thing, I realized this is good stuff, it's new, and it's free. So, with no further ado, it gives me great pleasure to introduce many of you to the band Eternal Emperor, via their album Sudwarts.
Eternal Emperor jumped to the top of my list of favorite symphonic black metal bands as soon as I finished listening to these three tracks. The orchestral parts are very well done, and the metal parts are equally excellent. It's hard not to swoon along a bit as the music rises and crescendos. One of the things that makes this such an enveloping listen is the high quality production. Black metal bands have a nasty habit of thinking that lousy production makes them sound more brutal. Eternal Emperor have obviously transcended this idea, with the vocals, guitars, drums, strings, and other instruments each coming forward and receding back into the tapestry at the right time.
By all accounts, Eternal Emperor is a Christian band, but the lyrical focus of this album is a celebration of the first successful trek to the South Pole. Certainly a different choice, and there's nothing wrong with that. The title track unfortunately is in German, so I can't comment on the lyrics there, but "Keeper of the Southern Gateway" is a very allegorical vision of that expedition to the bottom of the world. The final track "Icebound" is an instrumental, keeping with the excellent layered black metal of the first two tracks. Even if one doesn't like or even know what black metal is, I think it's worth 15 minutes of your life to give this a listen. Maybe even thirty minutes to hear it twice. There is just a lot to hear, a lot of swells and sways to the songs that can move a person the way many of those great classical pieces we know from commercials or background music in movies do, even to people who can't stand classical music.
Right now the band website only offers a download of this EP, and a promise of a new full length album this year, titled "Antarctica" as of right now. Like most underground bands, often times the music has to be put on the back burner until resources and time come available. Personally, I hope both do come available for this band, and we hear more from them soon.