Rating:
10
Emperor - Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire And Demise
2001


01. The Eruption
02. Depraved
03. Empty
04. The Prophet
05. The Tongue Of Fire
06. In The Wordless Chamber
07. Grey
08. He Who Sought The Fire
09. Thorns On My Grave


Well, here I am listening to Prometheus, Emperor's latest and final gift to the metal world. As an amateur ?critic? it's my responsibility to help evaluate exactly what it is they have given us, and in a sense, help the metal community pass judgment on the last album of true legends. Not that anyone who is even a casual metal fan should care at all what I think of it, mind you, but I'm going to tell you anyways.

It seems that Emperor have chosen to call it quits at what is undeniably the pinnacle of their career and popularity. The very mention of the name Emperor brings a sense of awe to any metalhead who hears it, and by exiting stage left now, they have insured that it will stay that way. This is at once, both a saddening and joyous thought. Saddening, because we as listeners will never be able to hear the music we might have, had they carried on. Joyous, because they will never have the option of falling into the mundane, fizzling out their career and dragging the name Emperor along with them. Read: Metallica, Megadeth, etc. here. So, now that I'm done reflecting, on with the review.

As I had only received this album in the mail earlier this week due to the pathetic record stores around here forcing me to order off the internet, I have had a chance to see what everyone else has been saying about it, and I must say, I have discovered an unusual trend. Magazine reviewers have been consistently giving Prometheus a higher rating than internet reviewers, which if you didn's know already, is usually the opposite of what happens. Internet reviewers tend to be more lenient when giving scores, myself included if you hadn's already noticed, though I stick by all my ratings. Also, it seems that the poor internet reviews seem to focus on the music, whereas the magazine reviews I?ve read focus on some transcendental idea that seems to just float out there somewhere without ever materializing into something tangible. Now, your probably saying, ?So what? Who Cares? Get on with it already.? Well, the reason I bring it up is because I'm going to try to bring lines of thought displayed here together.

I can fully understand the good, but less than great reviews it has been getting on the internet based upon the music here. Prometheus is about as far away from being immediately accessible as just about anything I?ve ever heard. Now don's get me wrong, there are some riffs that get your head bobbing on the first listen. Every song has loads of them, truth be told. But there are also many passages that on the first few listens are just, well, unbearable to listen to. The first time around, they sound almost like pure static, but it is actually these parts that bring you back to listen to it over again, and not really the ?immediate? parts. After a few listens, you begin to realize that these parts are actually multiple riffs being played over one another, each begging for attention. At first, as you try focus on one riff or another in order to make it out, it just doesn's flow. It sounds as disconnected as possible. But eventually, everything falls into place, and you are left to marvel at the genius that gave birth to whatever it was you just experienced.

Ah, and there is where the published reviews come into play. This album is definitely something you experience, but you cannot put your finger on what it is. It refuses to let you grasp it, forcing you to go where it leads and not the other way around. By the time you get to this point, there is no turning back. You are caught in its realm, and it won's release you. And even if it did, you would not want to leave. This plane, centered on some intangible undiscovered dimension, is really the only place you can truly discuss Prometheus. However, for the sake of the sanity of everyone involved here, I will return to the world of the physical and go back to discussing the sound waves being generated by my speakers.

Much of this album is actually more along the lines of technical death than black metal in terms of guitar tones and riff structure, but there is still plenty of the darkest of genres left. Symphonic instruments provide atmosphere to nearly every crevice of the album, and the vocals, both black and clean, are done to absolute perfection. Also, every now and then, the guitars slip back into black metal territory. The occasional melodies are also done perfection, and are inserted at exactly the right moments. Being any more detailed than that would be really quite hard to do, as I honestly can's think of any good comparisons, including their own previous material. This is truly an album I?ve never, ever heard before. I would go into a description of my favorite songs, but that would mean describing all nine of them. Seriously. Besides, I don's really think it would be the right thing to do. Every song is good enough, and has more than enough individuality to stand on its own, but in all honesty, Prometheus is much better seen as one entity; much the same as how Led Zeppelin felt about their albums.

Expect absolutely NOTHING going into this album, and given it a chance. You might end up hating it, but on the other hand, if you're like me, you might end up truly and honestly falling in love with it. Undoubtedly, this is one the greatest albums I?ve ever heard, and I mean it. Brilliant!


Band profile: Emperor
Album: Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire And Demise


 


written by Rupophobic | 17.09.2003


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Bengans - 16.12.2006 at 21:31  
Great review. I think im going to give this album a chance.
Basso - 27.12.2006 at 01:16  
This album is so fucking amazing. It is indeed a love / hate album.
Paganblood - 06.01.2007 at 15:33  
The album is good, but rating 8 would have been better.
Warman - 25.01.2007 at 14:39  
One of my biggest dissapointments, probably the most overrated Metal album too. It doesn't make me feel anything (except dissapointment) and what's up with the keyboards? Sounds like something from NES!
Sunioj - 25.01.2007 at 15:13  
People always quote this album is being 'too chaotic' I dont think its as chaotic as the other albums, but IMO better orchestrated and structured to flow perfectly. Great album, 8.5 or 8.
Baz Anderson - 27.01.2007 at 22:39  
the people that say 'chaotic' probably mean there are so many layers to the music - there is so much going on there compared to their past albums

this used to be my favorite Emperor album for quite a while, but then for some reason i didnt listen to it for ages and then when i did again, it didnt have the same affect on me.
i still love the album though. it would get around 9/10 from me
BlackMetalLives! - 28.12.2007 at 22:42  
I agree with this review almost 100%
There's definetly something about the album that's absolutely awe-inspiring but i just can't put my finger on it.
It's also one of those albums that i had to listen to multiple times to really appreciate it.
erctus-seth - 23.02.2008 at 01:03  
i think it's easy to find the highlights of this album... maybe harder to appreciate the emperial remains... but still remains great! 8,5 would be ok!
totaliteraliter - 16.07.2008 at 20:17  
Ugh, the review has far too much fanboy gushing and far too little content for my tastes. "...undeniably the pinnacle of their career"? You must not have been around the scene much, I'd say a pretty sizable portion of fans feel they went to shit sometime around Anthems.

I don't get the talk about inaccessibility either, I'd say this is one of their more accessible albums what with all the poppy symphonic hooks; it's basically early Emperor dressed up with a bunch of decorative fluff. Not much content to be found here at all, just a whole lot of ear candy and flowery distraction. Like later Death, it's amazing how much more the mainstream metal scene embraces a band after they've started running out of ideas and/or dumbing down their art while replacing substance with empty style. Still, this is better than Ihsahn's later solo abominations... talk about overindulgence.
deathovertime - 17.09.2008 at 19:53  
I'd agree that this is a good album but I wouldn't call it the pinnacle of their career. My personal opinion would be Anthems, but that maybe different coming from different people. Prometheus has the sound of Ihsahn's solo work, because he composed everything on this album himself anyway. But good album, not bad, it is a different sound for Emperor, and like they said themselves, they didn't want to be a band that didn't know when to stop making music.
Uirapuru - 16.05.2009 at 01:36  
Way exaggerated review. It is an exellent album, but as always the latest Emperor works are highly overrated.
John Barleycorn - 16.05.2009 at 02:11  
I don't know... to me it seems rather that the majority of the fans don't like the latest albums that much. I see more haters than admirers when it comes to this album, so I wouldn't call it overrated.

I was a huge sucker for this album some years ago but I don't think much of it now. Ihsahn is pretentious as fuck and it can get annoying.
Reaper02 - 20.10.2009 at 22:05  
Really its a masterpiece in my opinion,takes time to really understand this album,the subject matter is deep and complex and every time listening to record i find new layer of sound embedded within,if emperor wanted this last record to be made like this it was really worth making it like it is now.Truly a respectful record of a great band.

Long live the Emperor !!!
Eddie Misery - 24.02.2010 at 22:07  
I likewise wouldn't call this album the "pinnacle" of their career, but it was most certainly a good album to close their career (as Emperor) with. I also don't see how it's overrated, as that implies that a huge majority of people like it without seemingly good enough reason, and at least from MY experience, the majority of people (particularly the most "hardcore" Emperor fans who listen ONLY to Nightside) had a huge dislike for this album. It's definitely different, though not TOTALLY different, than their previous releases, and still has plenty to offer. I am in a similar spot as Baz, however, as coming back now to listen to it after so long, it's not quite the same for me as it used to be. But I still maintain my rating of a 9 for it. The musicianship is, of course, excellent, and the songs are memorable and constructed so well. Still a kickass album.
Warman - 25.02.2010 at 00:01  
My last post here is over 3 years old. The album certainly isn't as bad as I once thought. It's good, no more, no less.
But this review totally overestimate it.
Moosh666 - 12.04.2011 at 09:57  
I partly agree, although I wouldn't say the riffs are particularly tech death, but they do border on it. As for it being overrated, it's a great album and all, but I wouldn't call it one of their best. All hail Emperor!
AXA - 09.05.2011 at 21:12  
THIS ALBUM MY BEST ALBUM FOR ALL TIME ...TITLE LYRIC ..AND VOCALIST ...
ALL TIME I NEED TO HEAR THIS AMAZING ALBUM ...
I NEVER HEAR LIKE THIS AMAZING ALBUM IN ALL BLACK METAL OCEAN \../
THANK YOU EMPEROR \../

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